This bill to fully legalize marijuana presents a chance for our state to further 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. Connecticut’s history of disproportionately arresting people for marijuana possession overall, and its disturbing track record of racial disparities in this enforcement, mean that communities continue to suffer from decades of prior marijuana criminalization. The ACLU of Connecticut therefore encourages this committee to strengthen this bill with prohibitions on discrimination against people with marijuana-related convictions and with a pathway toward expungement of those records. To further remediate the negative effects of past marijuana convictions, we further encourage this committee 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.
Records reveal 8 CT police agencies sharing info with ICE