Credit: Christine Stuart photo

As of May 2021, the 18 states that have enacted laws legalizing, taxing and regulating adult use cannabis have reported a combined $7.9 billion in tax revenue, according to a report by the Marijuana Policy Project. 

An estimated $2.7 billion of that was in 2020 alone, according to the report.

The report found that in the state of Washington revenue from retail cannabis outpaced alcohol tax revenue in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years. In 2020, California collected more than $1 billion in adult-use cannabis tax revenue, a 62% increase compared to 2019. 

Adult cannabis use is on the agenda this year for the Connecticut General Assembly and details of a proposal are expected to be finalized by the end of the week. 

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said they are looking at other states’ experiences. 

“We’ve taken all the lessons that we’ve seen happen in other states and I think that’s the benefit of, perhaps us not being first out of the gate with legalization,” Rojas said Wednesday. “What’s happened in other states and how equity hasn’t worked in other states has helped inform our process and we’ve made significant progress with working towards a goal that there’s broad agreement on, that we’re ensuring that there’s going to be equity in this new marketplace.”

“How do we know the potential of this market? We’ve seen what happens in other states and how successful and lucrative it can be,” Rojas said. “We want to make sure there’s a broad diversity of individuals who want to enter that marketplace.” 

He said the working group met for hours and they were meeting again Wednesday.  

“We hope to have an announcement about where we land in the very near future,” Rojas said. 

He said there’s broad consensus on some of the larger issues. 

House Speaker Matt Ritter said he’s been struck by the number of people who he thought were against the bill “who are kinda getting there.” 

He gave the bill a 50-50 chance at the beginning of the session. He said it went up to 57-43. 

The concept is popular with Connecticut voters. 

Nearly 64% of Connecticut residents surveyed last month support legalizing recreational cannabis, according to a Sacred Heart University poll. Pollsters surveyed 1,000 residents between April 20 and April 26. They found that 63.9% supported legalization of cannabis for people at least 21 years old and 61.6% supported expunging the criminal records of those previously convicted of marijuana possession crimes.