HARTFORD — House Republicans on Wednesday said Gov. Lamont must provide a timeline for when his administration will issue guidance to varied public and private sector interests affected by the legislature’s slapdash legalization of marijuana, faulting the governor and Democrats for ignoring the immediate ramifications of their controversial policy change.
“Given that this bill was written in secret by the Governor’s office and Democratic legislators, they are the only ones who have the level of understanding on the impact of this new law,” said House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora, who joined his Republican colleagues in contending this implementation boondoggle is yet another example of Democrats’ irresponsible approach to legislating party-driven policy initiatives.
“It’s unacceptable that the governor’s administration has already set the expectation that something is going to go ‘boom in the night’ when these laws are going to have a direct impact on residents’ lives,” he said. “From criminal justice ‘reform’ to paid family leave, the majority party’s ‘we’ll fix it as we go’ attitude has polluted the legislative process. Their backroom push at the 11th hour to legalize marijuana is the worst example yet and given the potential for far-reaching public health and safety impacts, it’s certainly the most reckless.”
House Republicans say the governor’s administration must not only prioritize groups and entities that need immediate guidance, such as defense contractors, public housing organizations, parks and recreation facilities, but also explain to the state what that list will look like, the process and players employed in developing it, and most important, when that information will be provided. Greater communication and collaboration, Republicans contend, will be critical in the days and weeks ahead as both marijuana users and the public need to have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
“It’s abundantly clear that Democrats cared more about achieving commercialization than they did about the people who will have to figure out this mess, spending more time on their victory lap than the necessary outreach to employers and workers, law enforcement, municipalities and anyone else who has questions about what this means for them,” Candelora said. “I’m still stunned by their light switch approach, that tomorrow marijuana will be ‘on,’ and that Democrats have failed to supply anyone with the answers they’ll need—whether it’s a lifeguard at a town beach, a group home administrator, or someone running a summer camp.”
Candelora said the situation demand’s the full attention of the governor’s administration.
“Is the Department of Labor providing guidance? Are the departments of Consumer Protection or Education preparing road shows for parents and school districts? Nobody knows what the plan is,” he said. “If there was ever a piece of legislation that should have been phased in, this was it. That would’ve given the administration breathing room to hear from stakeholders, whether it be law enforcement or the business community, and then thoroughly describe this new playing field. Instead, there’s a behind-the-scenes mad dash to simply get something out in order to check a box. It’s wholly inadequate.”