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The debate to legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut continued on Monday. Another legislative committee acted on a bill that could ultimately legalize the use of pot for people ages 21 and older. The General Assembly's Judiciary Committee voted on and passed one such bill on Monday, 21 to 19.
The bill specifically outlines how marijuana would be legalized. It's just one of several bills moving through the legislative process this year. Monday's bill passed, but all Republicans voted no and most Democrats supported it.
"Given those reasons and I want to keep our youth safe, I will be opposing this today," said Republican State Senator Dan Champagne. His feelings were shared by many Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. Democrats, who pretty much all voted 'yes,' had concerns. "I will be supporting this bill today for a variety of reasons but I do have strong reservations which lay outside this committee and the public health impact, and the impact on addiction," said Democratic State Rep. Maria Horn.
Even though this bill passed, it's not the final say.
The bill would also allow people who were previously convicted of marijuana possession to petition courts to have their records erased. A separate bill was already approved by the General Law Committee on March 25. The committee will also vote on legislation clarifying that employers don't have to allow workers to possess, smoke or consume marijuana products, or do their jobs under the influence of pot.
Another bill up for discussion addresses driving under the influence. The group Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana posted summaries of the bills on its website here. Advocates expect that the pieces of legislation will eventually be included in one bill for lawmakers' consideration.