Speaker predicts legalized pot will come up in budget talks

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Bills legalizing recreational use of marijuana didn’t clear any legislative committees this session, but that doesn’t mean the issue is entirely dead.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (ehr-eh-SIM’-oh-wits) said Wednesday he’s “sure we’ll caucus it many times within the budget process.”

After the General Assembly’s two budget-writing committees vote out tax and spending proposals next week, lawmakers will have to negotiate a final budget agreement with the governor that addresses a projected $1.7 billion deficit in the new fiscal year.

There are estimates that legalized recreational marijuana could generate $243 million in annual revenue by the third year in operation.

However, Aresimowicz says lawmakers have been reticent to make large policy changes for only fiscal reasons, acknowledging he’s not sure if there’s enough support among House Democrats to pass the concept.

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