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CT Marijuana Legalization Being Looked At In 2021: Lamont

Marijuana, transportation infrastructure and health care are some issues that need to be looked at in 2021, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

By Rich Scinto , Patch Staff
Nov 4, 2020 12:45 p m ET | Updated Nov 4, 2020 5:41 p m ET

CONNECTICUT — Connecticut will likely take another look at legalizing recreational marijuana, especially now that New Jersey voters approved it during Tuesday’s election.

Connecticut also has to solve its transportation funding problems and Gov. Ned Lamont admitted that tolls clearly weren’t a popular option. Health care will be another important issue on the table in 2021 and Lamont said he was open to the possibility of a public option.

“We’re much stronger when we work on a regional basis,” Gov. Ned Lamont said during a Wednesday news conference about marijuana, adding that one of the lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic is Connecticut is stronger when it works with its neighbors.

Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont have legalized recreational marijuana. The issue has also come up multiple times in recent years in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York.

“My thinking is sort of similar when it comes to marijuana . I think that we do something, we do it on a regional basis,” he said.

New Jersey residents voted by a 2 to 1 margin to legalize recreational marijuana. Connecticut’s constitution doesn’t allow for such ballot questions unless it’s in the form of a constitutional amendment, which is a lengthy process. Legislators have tried to push the issue through legislative votes, but have come up short.

Lamont will go into the 2021 legislative session with even greater Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate.

“I think it was a pretty strong mandate for the Democrats, building on what you saw in 2018, both in the state House and the state Senate,” Lamont said.

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“I thought we’d never get it,” Liz Uihlein, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions, told Uline employees. “Well, Trump got it.”

Lamont asked people to have patience when it came to tallying the results of the presidential election across the country. He said he was pleased with how the election ran smoothly in Connecticut, with voters wearing masks and social distancing.

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“I thought we’d never get it,” Liz Uihlein, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions, told Uline employees. “Well, Trump got it.”

“Don’t cast shade, Mr. President, don’t undermine the integrity of our democracy,” Lamont said. “This is too important a time.”

Health care affordability is another issue Lamont wants to tackle in 2021, especially if the Affordable Care Act is invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he will examine bolstering the state’s health care insurance exchange.

“I’m looking at all solutions I can to make health care more affordable, broadly speaking, the individuals, the self-employed, small business,” he said. “And if you know our insurance companies can’t come up with a solution, maybe public option will be one of the ideas on the table.”

Connecticut has taken a hit in recent months to gas tax revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lamont said. Some federal CARES Act funding was used for transportation projects.

“We know we’re going to have to change the way we fund transportation and I’m going to sit down with the legislature,” he said. “Look, let’s face it my solution wasn’t very popular with republicans or democrats, but nor do they have a solution of their own.”

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said that a Joe Biden presidential victory could mean more federal dollars for infrastructure projects across the country, including in Connecticut.

CT Marijuana Legalization Being Looked At In 2021: Lamont – Across Connecticut, CT – Marijuana, transportation infrastructure and health care are some issues that need to be looked at in 2021, Gov. Ned Lamont said.