By the slimmest of margins, the Senate on Saturday approved a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The vote was 18-18, with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman tipping the balance with the tie-breaking vote.
After years of false starts, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other supporters were able to assemble a coalition that championed decriminalization as both a cost-saving measure and a more appropriate way to punish young people who experiment with the drug.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.
Gov. Malloy has been an advocate for decriminalizing minor marijuana possession and urged the House also to pass the law, so he could sign it.
According to state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis the bill would result $885,000 in yearly savings for the state and the fines would bring in roughly $618,750 in new revenue for the state’s general fund. In addition it will allow the state and local governments to reallocate millions law enforcement resource towards more serious crime.