(Hartford, CT) Today, the legislative session in Connecticut comes to a close. After pro-pot advocates claimed a victory in moving a bill to legalize marijuana out of committee, they almost immediately suffered a crushing defeat as neither chamber took up the bill in question. The push to legalize and commercialize marijuana in Connecticut, at least for this year, is over.
Four separate bills related to different aspects of marijuana legalization were sent to four separate committees this year. Only one bill was approved out of its respective committee. Two bills never received a vote, and the only other bill to have a committee vote was shot down with a resounding, bipartisan no.
Connecticut legislators voiced concerns around the cost of legalizing marijuana. “It is going to require us to put forth another regulating body which is going to cost us money and right now we don’t have money to put into that regulating body…it would cost somewhere around $15 million to get it all done,” said Representative Pam Staneski.
But the cost of forming a regulatory body will not be the only cost borne by Connecticut taxpayers should marijuana be legalized in the state. According to a comprehensive cost study conducted by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) in conjunction with SAM’s Connecticut chapter, CT-SAM, legalization would cost the state $216 million, far outweighing even the rosiest tax projections.
This report uses data from states like Colorado and figures from Connecticut Office of Fiscal Analysis to debunk the myth that taxed marijuana sales will be a boon to the state’s fiscal crisis. According to the report, marijuana legalization costs would “exceed, by more than 90 percent, the maximum projected official revenue estimate of $113.6 million for the third year of the proposed legalization program.”
“The defeat of this bill and the failure of the other three to gain traction is a win for public health and safety in Connecticut,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of SAM. “Lawmakers are seeing through the claims of Big Marijuana and are pumping the brakes on legalizing marijuana. CT-SAM and SAM officials and supporters have testified numerous times before lawmakers in Connecticut and today we can certainly celebrate this as a victory,” continued Sabet.