December 21, 2016
Despite its puritan history, New England and its politicians have played an essential role in liberal and progressive politics. On November 8, when Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis, growers in these states were clearly enthused. Legalization created a potential for significant financial growth that is rarely seen in the horticultural industry, and the growers of Maine and Massachusetts could eventually cultivate and study one of Earth’s most interesting plants.
As Massachusetts and Maine prepare for the cultural and economic changes that legalization will bring to their communities, it’s hard for the surrounding states to not feel the pangs for jealousy. Connecticut, in particular, is the perfect example of how insanely frustrating it can be living in a state which borders another state that has legalized.
Initially, growers and residents here in Connecticut thought it would just be a matter of time until cannabis was legal, but the weeks following the election showed that legalization won’t necessarily spread through the region like New Englanders initially thought.
Connecticut and Massachusetts have a shared history that dates back to this country’s inception. The states’ growers produce similar crops in a similar fashion, but for the time being this has clearly changed. The weird part is that although the states are so similar, Connecticut residents actually have a long history of looking at Massachusetts’ law with jealousy.
Until just a few short years ago it was illegal for alcohol to be sold on Sundays in the Constitution State, which lead to many dry football Sundays. For years this was solved by getting in a car and traveling over state lines to purchase alcohol, proving that Massachusetts has essentially been Connecticut’s cooler older brother well before legalization.
Unfortunately, growers won’t be able to establish grows over state lines with the same ease, and it appears they’ll have opposition within the state. While Connecticut was ahead of many states in decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing medicinal, the governor believes the state has done enough.
Governor Dannel Malloy stated, “Going from decriminalization and recognizing the medical benefits of marijuana to, in essence, endorse marijuana is a very different proposition, and I don’t endorse the use of marijuana.”
It’s a quote that caught many off guard. As a governor that has gained a reputation for over taxing, many believed Malloy would use legalization to increase tax revenue and bolster the state’s economy. He also seemed out of touch, as most aren’t looking for an endorsement. Instead, businesses, growers and the state’s tax payers just want an acknowledgement that there is serious financial potential with little downside.
Malloy’s quote was given in a week that initially seemed to be off to a good start for Connecticut’s future cannabis industry. New Haven State Rep. Juan Candelaria said that it was time for Connecticut to start following in Massachusetts’ footsteps, and the state approved its first test on the medicinal use of marijuana. Researchers at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center will look into the effectiveness of cannabis versus oxycodone. The approval was greeted warmly throughout the state, because it acknowledged cannabis’ medicinal potential, while also attempting to use the plant to tackle an opiod problem that has spread throughout the state.
Last week perfectly sums up the frustration that Connecticut growers face. A political step forward is followed by a step back, and all the while, their very near neighbors to the North are gearing up for what appears to be inevitable success. Bordering a legalized state is frustrating.