“Today is a historic day, but tomorrow we’re right back to organizing for more sensible policies at every level of government,” Zachary Green, President of the UConn Hartford Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Freedom and cannabis common sense have been on the march state by state ever since California passed the Prop 215 medicinal measure all the way back in 1996. Since then, 35 more states have enacted medical laws while 18, along with Washington, D.C., have passed legalization laws. Additionally, four U.S. territories have medical while two have ended prohibition as well. Connecticut is now poised to be the 19th state to “just say no” to Reefer Madness as Governor Ned Lamont has stated that he will sign recently passed legislation that saw a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns throughout the legislative session as lawmakers hammered out various details, including some important social equity provisions.
NBC Connecticut reported:
“The Senate voted Thursday to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults in Connecticut, the final legislative action for a bill that lays the groundwork for the new industry in Connecticut and attempts to address racial inequities stemming from the nation’s war on drugs.
“The legislation, which passed on a 16 to 11 vote, now moves to Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. Four Democrats joined all the Republicans in attendance in opposition. Nine senators were absent for the vote.
“The Democratic governor, whose administration helped to negotiate the final deal, is expected to sign it into law.”
“While stronger language surrounding equity in ownership is needed, it’s very encouraging to see substance use disorder and mental health treatment will have a dedicated fund that will receive 25% of tax revenues. That fund, plus the fact students would no longer be discriminated against through enrollment or penalization due to their cannabis use, is huge progress.” said Zachary Green, President of the UConn Hartford Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) chapter, who helped mobilize a rally for legalization in April.
Some youth specific highlights of the bill include:
- No arrests for possession for anyone under 18
- No discrimination against students who use medical cannabis
- Schools must re-write their policies by January 2022 to equalize cannabis penalties with alcohol
- Student athletes may not be penalized for failing a drug test for cannabis
- No financial aid penalty for possession under 4 ounces
“SSDP’s youth and students across the globe are changing laws in their community. Connecticut is just the most recent example of SSDP members leading the fight for a more sensible world.” said Jason Ortiz, Executive Director of SSDP and resident of Connecticut, who was arrested for possession of cannabis as a high school student.
A sincere thanks to everyone that put in the work to lay the foundation for this most recent victory and sweated out the details through the legislative session. These political battles are stressful, with lives and livelihood hanging in the balance. Each state adds more momentum to ending federal prohibition and further reforming the failed and harmful Drug War.