We encourage the legislature to amend this bill to prohibit marijuana-related revocations of professional licensure, prohibit discrimination in hiring or employment benefits based on previous marijuana-related offenses, prohibit discrimination against people with past marijuana-related convictions in housing, prohibit discrimination in financial transactions based on marijuana-related offenses, and prohibit the use of lawful marijuana-related activities as a relevant factor in proceedings regarding parental rights or child welfare. In addition, we strongly encourage this committee to add provisions to this bill to establish an office to ensure that marijuana industry revenue is invested in communities that have been most harmed by drug prohibition, and to ensure that these communities have access to business licenses, in order to prevent racial disparities from replicating themselves in a legal marijuana industry.
H.B. 5458, An Act Concerning the Regulation of the Retail Sale of Marijuana
The War on Marijuana, like the War on Drugs overall, has been a failure. It has torn apart families and communities, ruined people’s lives, and acted as a vehicle for racial injustice. The full legalization of marijuana presents a chance for Connecticut to honor individual privacy rights, prevent discrimination, and remedy the disparate burdens that marijuana prohibition has placed on youth, communities of color, and poor communities throughout our state. The ACLU of Connecticut therefore supports this bill to legalize marijuana and encourages the legislature to strengthen it to include provisions to remedy the harms of past marijuana convictions and prevent racial disparities from replicating themselves in the legal marijuana industry.