Connecticut lawmakers advance marijuana legalization bill

Connecticut lawmakers advance marijuana legalization bill
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Connecticut lawmakers have advanced a recreational marijuana bill out of committee, setting up the state legislature to vote on legalizing the substance in the state for the first time.

The appropriations committee voted 27-24 in favor of the bill Thursday, advancing it to the full General Assembly, the Hartford Courant reported.

The bill would require the state to create a plan to legalize and regulate marijuana. The measure would also create programs for substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness.

Officials would have until Oct. 1 to create the plan before submitting it to the General Assembly.

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"This bill deserves an opportunity for further conversation and to get into the fine points of what that conversation would be," Sen. Paul Formica (R) said of the measure, according to the Courant.

Other lawmakers noted that states neighboring Connecticut were starting to legalize the substance and that it made sense for the state to create a plan.

Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has opposed marijuana legalization and said Thursday that he wasn’t sure if the state had the resources to regulate the substance, according to the Courant.

“A legal marijuana plan would, in fact, require the employment of additional individuals," Malloy said. “I’m not an advocate but I see this as a legislative decision and we’ll see what comes out or doesn’t come out.”

Thirty states and D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form. Eight states and D.C. allow recreational use of the drug.