There’s much debate right now about which North American states will be the next to legalize recreational cannabis. The one thing that everybody knows for sure is that it is absolutely a case of when it happens, at opposed to if. There are already several potential proposals and measures being discussed behind closed doors and evidence seems to suggest that across most states, taking recreational cannabis to the ballot box would almost certainly result in it being given the green light.
But at the same time, there are certain states that are more likely than others to jump to the front of the queue, simply because it makes sense. By looking at an existing cannabis policy, what’s happening in the surrounding areas and the general attitude towards cannabis on the streets, you can get a pretty good idea as to where recreational cannabis will probably be legal within the next year or so.
One prime example of such a state is Connecticut, which despite being unlikely to legalize cannabis by the end of this year will almost certainly roll out new policy in 2018. It could happen earlier, but next year seems the most likely bet.
Why is it that Connecticut is something of a shoe-in as one of the next US states to legalize cannabis?
For a multitude of reasons – take any of the following into account and it seems like a total no-brainer that Connecticut really will be one of the next to bring in new recreational cannabis legislation:
Massachusetts Already Has
First and foremost, there’s the way in which state authorities and law makers have indicated that they are closely watching exactly what takes place over the border in Massachusetts. For quite some time before recreational cannabis was legalized, Massachusetts had a reputation for being something of a central hub for cannabis campaigning, use and proactive policy in general. Even before it was legal, it didn’t stop the vast majority of cannabis users from indulging with little discretion. As things continue to go from strength to strength in Massachusetts, it seems highly unlikely that the same example will not be followed by the folks in Connecticut. After all, it’s not as if the state wants to see its neighbour stealing all the ambitious talent, which may decide to bail on Connecticut and set up home/business in Massachusetts instead. For any number of reasons, Connecticut could really do with catching up.
On-going Fiscal Woes
On top of this, there’s also the way in which Connecticut continues to face the kinds of financial woes that make prospects like billions of recreational cannabis tax dollars impossible to overlook. According to the most recent estimates, the state’s overall budget deficit for the next fiscal year which begins on the 1st of July could be as high as $1.70 billion. The simple fact of the matter is that they desperately need to get their hands on a huge amount of money in a manner that is both dependable and realistic. It is estimated that legalizing recreational cannabis would within the first full year generate somewhere in the region of $64 million in overall taxes and state imposed fees. In the years that follow, this would continue to increase exponentially and relentlessly. Recreational cannabis legalization is already pumping spectacular amounts of cash back into the various states that have given it the green light – it seems only sensible given its current financial situation that Connecticut follows suit.
It might not be the biggest tourism magnet in the whole of the United States, but Connecticut could nonetheless benefit from an enormous annual influx of cannabis tourists. While it may be true to say that states like California, Colorado, Nevada and indeed Massachusetts are much bigger national and international tourist destinations than Connecticut, it nonetheless has its own unique charms and points of appeal. One of which being its strategic location – specifically right on the border with New York. For the time being at least, New York doesn’t appear to be at the front of the queue when it comes to cannabis legalization. As such, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that any number of dedicated cannabis fans currently residing in New York will see no harm in crossing the state line to revel in a wonderfully relaxed cannabis policy. Whereas Massachusetts may be that little bit too far away, Connecticut is right on the doorstep of millions.
It’s Already Decriminalised
It’s also worth taking into account the fact that recreational cannabis has already been largely decriminalised across Connecticut. Unless you happen to be carrying a rather ridiculous amount of the stuff or are clearly in the practice of cultivating or distributing it illegally, you will only ever find yourself with the same kind of penalty you’d expect for a parking violation. And just as is the case in most other regions that have implemented a system of decriminalisation, this has led to the vast majority of everyday law enforcement officers turning a blind eye to cannabis use. Which means that for the most part, recreational cannabis is already treated as if it is predominantly legal by those using it. The only problem being that until legalization actually goes ahead, the only way of getting hold of any cannabis or cannabis products in the first place is to break the law by dealing with an unauthorised dealer. That is, unless it’s medical cannabis we’re talking about.
The Industry Needs to Expand
Last but not least, another extremely valid reason why Connecticut will probably legalize cannabis soon enough is the way in which the industry as a whole is in desperate need of expansion. At the last count, somewhere in the region of 11,000 people across the state had been prescribed and were regularly using medical cannabis. Nevertheless, at the same juncture in time there were only nine authorized dispensaries across the entire state that were able to distribute medical cannabis. This suggests that both the state and its people could benefit significantly from extensive industry expansion, in order to make it much easier for those in need of medical cannabis to get hold of it. Things are ticking over reasonably as they are, book could definitely stand to be improved.