In Connecticut, advocates for the legalization of marijuana are feeling pretty confident these days. And they have good reason to be optimistic.
Newly elected governor Ned Lamont has expressed his support for legalization and his Democratic colleagues control both legislative chambers. It appears that it is only a matter of time before recreational marijuana comes to Connecticut.
While 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and another 33 states, including Connecticut, allow medical marijuana, not everyone is comfortable with pot becoming so mainstream.
Locally, the Southington anti-drug group STEPS has strongly opposed allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in town. And just recently, 15 members of the Coalition for a Better Wallingford gathered on Route 5 in North Haven to protest a billboard on Interstate 91 that advertises legal marijuana in Massachusetts. The billboard reads: “Weed is legal in 60 miles.”
Republican lawmakers also are not on board with marijuana legalization. Deputy Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora of North Branford said it behooves the legislature to support more studies examining the impact of recreational legalization in other states.
"When I first started looking at this issue I was not necessarily adamantly against legalization, but as time has gone on and as research has come forward, I have become more and more adamant that as a nation this is a mistake in what we're doing," said Candelora, who also represents part of Wallingford.
Groups like STEPS and the Coalition for a Better Wallingford, and representatives such as Candelora, are not wrong to push back against marijuana acceptance. But public opinion is not on their side.
A recent Gallup poll found that a solid majority of Americans — 64 percent — believe marijuana should be legal. Compare that finding to a Gallup poll from 1969, which saw the number at just 12 percent.
When it comes to legal marijuana, the tide has turned, like it or not.
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