HARTFORD, Conn. — April 20 is a holiday known across the world for cannabis enthusiasts.
Cannabis supporters outside the State Capitol building rallied together calling for more rights, while inside, legislators worked to eliminate what they call “loopholes” in the current marijuana legislation.
When marijuana became legalized last year, the legislation that passed did not specifically ban the gifting or trading of recreational cannabis products.
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That activity has been happening across the state, called High Bazaars. There, cannabis supporters trade marijuana or gift marijuana products to people over 21 years old without accepting any payment.
Several bazaars across the state had been shut down as lawmakers said they never intended for gifting or trading to be allowed.
Kevin Witkos, the ranking member of the General Law Committee, said there’s new legislation in the works that if passed, would prohibit all gifting and trading with hefty fines.
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“There is the loophole in the law that was unaccounted for, it was unexpected and they have been using that as a means to really be illegal drug dealers out in our communities,” said Witkos.
Demonstrators rallied together Wednesday in opposition to that legislation. They say the community relies on gifting and trading, especially since there are no stores currently open for recreational use of cannabis in the state.
“We’re really here to help the community and give folks that might not have the connection already within the legacy market to be able to expand access to veterans and people over 65 that are specifically a need of this plant,” said Avery Pessa, a cannabis community advocate.
“I’m a senior citizen, I’m disabled and I’m not getting SSI yet so it’s a struggle,” said Terry Hopper, a cannabis supporter. “I was able to afford an uninterrupted supply of pot products.”
The new legislation is expected to be voted on in the very near future. Meanwhile, cannabis supporters say they’ll continue to fight for gifting and trading.
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Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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