AP NEWS

The Latest: Latest pot legalization bills clear committee

April 8, 2019

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Latest on marijuana legalization bills (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

Additional legislation that could ultimately lead to legalized recreational marijuana in Connecticut has advanced.

The Judiciary Committee voted 21-19 on Monday in favor of a bill that outlines how marijuana use and sales would be legalized for those 21 years and older. By much wider margins, the same panel approved bills concerning cannabis in the workplace and driving while under the influence of the drug.

Proponents expect those and several other bills moving through the General Assembly to eventually be included in one bill for the full legislature to consider.

But it remains unclear if there will ultimately be enough support for legalization this session. While all Republican committee members opposed Monday’s main legalization bill, several Democrats opposed it and other Democrats voiced concern with the legislation.

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4:30 p.m.

State lawmakers are continuing to debate whether to legalize recreational marijuana and how such a system would work in Connecticut.

The Judiciary Committee on Monday voted on several bills proponents hope will eventually become part of one bill the full General Assembly will consider this session.

An initial tally indicates it will likely be a close vote on the main bill, but it’s expected to advance.

While mostly Republicans opposed it, at least one Democrat, Greenwich Sen. Alex Bergstein voted no. Other Democrats voted yes while expressing concerns with the legislation.

A parent of teenagers, Bergstein says she fears how legalization will affect young people. She says “when we legalize, we normalize” marijuana use.

Proponents say marijuana is already in the community and legalizing it will reduce the black market.

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8:30 a.m.

A legislative committee is preparing to vote on a bill that could lead to legal recreational marijuana in Connecticut.

The Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would outline a process for legalization and allow people who were previously convicted of marijuana possession to petition the courts to have their records erased. The panel is expected to vote on Monday.

A second bill seeks to clarify that employers don’t have to allow workers to possess, smoke or consume marijuana products, or perform their duties under the influence of cannabis.

The measures are among several making their way through the General Assembly this year. The process is likely to result with the crafting of a single legalization bill.

Three New England states, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, have legalized recreational marijuana.