Hamden representative weighs in on recreational marijuana bill

By Thamar Bailey

A recreational marijuana bill made it out of the committee stage for the first time ever. According to the Hartford Courant, the next phase of the bill calls for state agency officials to create a plan to legalize and regulate cannabis. The bill will also create substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs, according to the Courant.

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Josh Elliott, democratic representative of the 88th District and advocate for recreational marijuana, sees this bill as a last chance after last year’s failed bill.

“Making movement on anything is really gratifying,” Elliott said. “So we had four bills this year and three of the four have died in committee. This was the last chance we had of actually moving this idea forward.”

While there are various views on the issue, Elliott is confident that this bill will force people in positions of power to take a stand on the issue.

“What I would like to see is people on record,” Elliott said. “‘Do you or do you not support it?’ because there are a lot of people up there that kind of want to play both sides of the fence and when you actually have to press the button you can’t really play both sides anymore.”

Elliott, a Quinnipiac University alum, said that his support for this bill is more than just the economic benefit.

“For me it comes back to who have these laws (been) disproportionately affecting for the past 60, 80 years? And it’s the black and brown community (and) that’s highly problematic,” Elliott said.

The completed plan for legislation is due Oct. 1, according to the Courant.