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EXCLUSIVE: Key Policy Group Leader: “Very High Likelihood” Marijuana is Legalized in ’18

January 26, 2018 By Staff
EXCLUSIVE: Key Policy Group Leader: “Very High Likelihood” Marijuana is Legalized in ’18

Reclaim Connecticut discussed with Regulate Connecticut, a pro-marijuana group that argues legalization would have economic and revenue benefits to the state.

“I think there is a very high likelihood,” said Sam Tracy, the political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, when asked how likely it is Connecticut legalizes, regulates, and taxes the recreational use of marijuana in 2018.

“2018 really could be our year,” Tracy added.

Reclaim Connecticut caught up with Tracy on Thursday, a little under two months after Tracy told us legalizing marijuana in Connecticut could create 20,000 jobs in the state.

Tracy reiterated that point on Thursday, adding: “I do think that this is really good for the economy.”

Marijuana legalization will come up during the 2018 legislative session in Connecticut, and Tracy says his group is preparing for their biggest push yet.

“We’re trying to work with our supporters and activists across the state,” Tracy said, to create “bottom-up pressure.”

SUCCESSES

Regulate Connecticut gained some ground in Hartford, according to Tracy.

They helped “pass a resolution in the Hartford City Council that endorsed legalization at the state level, and urged their delegation at the state House to push for legalization in 2018,” Tracy said.

Now, they’re in the “calm before the storm,” with a busy legislative session approaching.

VERMONT

Tracy cited Vermont, which recently legalized marijuana through its state legislature, as a model for Connecticut.

“I think it is worth emphasizing that the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, the bill was signed by a Republican,” Tracy said. “Vermont, obviously a blue state in many other respects. But the governor there, Governor Scott, was able to come to a compromise with the legislature.”

Tracy sees bipartisan potential on the issue in Connecticut.

Legalization “is just as much a conservative issue as a liberal issue,” Tracy said, citing that making marijuana illegal effectively taxes the product at 100 percent, because it is seized by authorities whenever discovered.

“We want to move it down to a more reasonable tax rate so that people can actually have these transactions,” Tracy said, adding it’s about “shrinking the size of government.”

“It’s been a very steep climb to be the first state in the country to pass legalization through the legislature,” Tracy said of Connecticut. But with the passage of legalization in Vermont and the early, local successes in Connecticut, it’s “much less of an uphill battle.”