Marijuana’s financial allure becoming hard to resist

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Will ‘high times’ be coming to Connecticut as part of the budget crisis solution?

As the red ink in Hartford has grown and grown, the appeal of of tax returns on legalized marijuana appears to be looking better and better; especially since so many states are moving in that direction. The legislature in the State of Vermont has just passed a marijuana legalization law and sent it to the Governor for his signature.

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“The dollar amounts that are associated with legalization of marijuana are real,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin).

Connecticut lawmakers have taken a close look at the impact of marijuana legalization in Colorado and have found that it has had a significant economic impact on that state.  Adds Aresimowicz, “The question for the state of Connecticut is; does the economic impact out weigh the social issues surrounding it?”

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The Democratic leader in the State Senate, Senator Martin Looney of New Haven says it does,  “There’s a long history of people who occasionally smoke marijuana, do that for years without any adverse affects and without moving on to any other drugs.”  And Senator Looney says it is clearly something the public wants and the money it would generate for the state is too good to pass up adding, “Quinnipiac Poll show 63 percent of the people in Connecticut favor it. I think the time has come to move. It is a significant revenue source at a time we are desperate for revenues.”

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“When I hear ‘it’s a good source of revenue,’ I’m so sick and tired of trying to find new sources of revenue when we’re not fiscally responsible in the first place,” says House Republican Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby).  But not all Republicans are opposed to the idea. Republican Representative Melissa Ziobron of East Haddam, favors legalization saying, “I’ve been trying to talk to may colleagues privately about some of what’s really happening, not just in Connecticut, but around us.”

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The Democrats in the House are also said to be split on the idea so it would take Republican votes to pass.  And it is known that at least one Democratic State Senator is opposed to legalization making passage in the upper chamber difficult even if their leader wants it.

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