During Wednesday's Special Session of the House of Representatives, Rep. Donna Veach (R-30) voted against a proposal to legalize marijuana for purchase and personal use due to various concerns she had with the bill as written.
"Despite more than 7 hours of debate on the House floor and increased concerns from my colleagues about the need to spend more time on a bill of this magnitude before a final vote, it was decided we'd move forward anyway," Veach said. "It is unfortunate due to the closed nature of the capitol complex, the public was unable to weigh in on this updated version of the bill, as it changed quite a bit since its last public hearing. The hurried nature of needing to pass this bill now in a special session proves to me the purpose of it is more about the possible tax revenue it could generate than putting together a comprehensive bill we could all try and support."
The bill, SB-1201, An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis, beyond attempting to try and regulate the sale of marijuana would also create a Social Equity Council to govern who can apply for licenses. This board would provide expedited or priority license processing for those who qualify as social equity applicants while also establishing a minimum criterion for establishments who are not owned by a social equity applicant to comply with an approved workforce development plan.
Republicans offered five amendments to improve the bill, unfortunately all failed to garner enough bipartisan support.
The marijuana bill was expected to be debated during the final night of the 2021 legislative session but was ultimately scrapped when Republicans uncovered a provision in the bill to provide preferential treatment for Theraplant, an LLC with ties to various Democrat lawmakers to obtain a cultivation license bypassing the lottery process entirely. Ultimately the bill never made the House floor due to Democrats believing Republicans would ultimately filibuster any subsequent debate until the House convened at midnight on June 9.
Late Wednesday night, the House voted in favor of the bill by a 76-62 margin. Due to the House amending the bill, the change will now force the Senate to vote on the bill again.