The activism is strong in Connecticut, but is it missing you?
Happy Monday! This past weekend was beautiful, the weather was gorgeous and for the Connecticut cannabis community it was fun packed. Saturday, New Haven was the host to the very first Cannabis Conference for leadership and small businesses within the state. The conference, which was held at the Omni Hotel, involved local vendors, advocates, and some of the best speakers in the industry today. Personally, I felt blessed to be welcomed and given the opportunity to speak and participate on a panel to discuss Community Outreach, Leadership and Activism.
For Connecticut residents the fight toward legalization is not over, but only starting. Passing legalization is only the start and potentially the easiest part of creating a strong well-structured industry. But we need your support to move forward. We have an opportunity to make something great here, give opportunities to various communities, generate new revenue, fund education and services, but most importantly we can give residents the choice of cannabis without having to fear retribution. Cannabis does not make you a bad person.
Have you contacted your representation to support Cannabis Legalization? Contact your representatives before it’s too late! Let them know you would like for them support and vote yes for legalization. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz needs to know there is support for legalization and he should call the vote.
Yesterday, people took to the streets of Hartford. Just outside the Capitol building, residents held signs and chanted to raise awareness. Legislators in Connecticut need to be informed to call House Bill 5394 to vote on the House floor before the scheduled legislative session ends on May 9th. In case you missed the event, doesn’t mean you cannot participate and have your voice heard. All it takes is a call and message to your legislators. Request that your representation support and vote “YES” to HB. 5394.
FOX 61 Coverage:
Here are just some reasons why cannabis should be legalized:
The debate over marijuana regulation isn’t about whether marijuana should exist or whether people should use it. The reality is, even after decades of prohibition, marijuana is used by large numbers of people and is clearly here to stay. Given that reality, the question is how Connecticut can most effectively regulate marijuana — ensuring the rights and freedoms of responsible consumers while working to reduce the harms of both marijuana use and our marijuana policies.
Our state’s drug policies must not harm innocent people, but should instead protect youth, promote public health, boost the economy, and advance social justice.
First, Do No Harm
Marijuana prohibition does far more harm than good, and that’s why a majority of Connecticut residents support ending it. It has disrupted families and destroyed communities, eroding public trust in law enforcement and coming at great taxpayer expense. Despite all of these costs over decades of enforcement, we have nothing to show for it — marijuana is far easier to get and more popular than when prohibition began.
Drug dealers don’t card. Moving marijuana sales into state-licensed outlets would allow for strict regulations against selling to people under 21 years of age. Like in Colorado and Washington, some of the taxes from sales could go towards drug abuse prevention programs that help reduce youth use. Honest drug education, like we have for tobacco and alcohol, are much more effective at reducing youth use than the fear-mongering that comes along with prohibition: With increased public education and tight age restrictions, rates of teen alcohol and cigarette use are at 30-year lows.
Promote Public Health
Apart from our small medical marijuana program, the current marijuana market in Connecticut is completely unregulated. Bringing it into the light would enable requirements for child-resistant packaging, testing products for mold or other contaminants, clear labeling with potency and serving sizes, and bans on certain products that are likely to appeal to children, such as gummy bears.
Boost the Economy
Regulating marijuana like alcohol will create thousands of good-paying jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and many other fields. If Colorado is any guide, we could see well over 19,000 such jobs in Connecticut, and due to federal law, they would be impossible to outsource to other states. Taxing marijuana sales would bring in over $180 million per year, allowing for the reduction of other taxes or spending on important services like infrastructure or education.
Advance Social Justice
Marijuana prohibition has been disproportionately targeted at communities of color, and criminal records make it difficult to access many government services or even to get jobs, housing, or further one’s education. The new system of licensing and regulation will stop the harm done by prohibition while creating new, legal opportunities. The coalition is committed to a system of regulation that is fair and equitable, providing opportunities for everyone.