UConn Is Facing Drastic Budget Cuts And Cannabis Legalization Can Help

Cliff Robinson played basketball at the University of Connecticut (UConn) from 1985-1989, and led the UConn Huskies to a NIT Championship in 1988. Cliff was named to the NIT All-Tournament team that year and was later selected to UConn’s ‘All-Century Men’s Basketball team.’ Robinson’s college number (’00’) was retired at Gampel Pavilion in 2007. Cliff Robinson is proud to be a Husky, and will always have a special place in his heart for the University of Connecticut.

The University of Connecticut is facing drastic proposed budget cuts over the next two years – $150 million dollars a year to be exact. A budget hit like that would have a harmful impact on UConn and its students, and therefore it should be avoided if at all possible. Creating tax revenue out of thin air is not an easy task, but it is not impossible, at least not for the state of Connecticut.

Connecticut is one of a number of states looking into updating its harmful cannabis laws. To date eight states have legalized cannabis for adult use. Washington D.C. has also implemented a cannabis legalization law. Cannabis prohibition is a failed public policy wherever it exists, and Connecticut’s current prohibition law is no exception. Cannabis legalization is beneficial in many ways, which is being proven every day in states that have ended cannabis prohibition for adult use. Cannabis legalization creates jobs, it saves money by not requiring law enforcement to enforce prohibition, it helps reduce the impact of institutional racism that goes along with cannabis prohibition, and it generates much needed tax revenues. Legalization in Connecticut has so much tax revenue potential that it could help UConn fix its budget woes.

The push for legalization in Connecticut is being led by Regulate Connecticut, which is an organization that Cliff Robinson is a proud member of. Regulate Connecticut has been working with lawmakers in Connecticut to include cannabis legalization in the state’s next budget. In May, both House and Senate Democrats released a budget proposal in Connecticut that included the regulating and taxing of cannabis. Unfortunately, subsequent House Democratic budgets omitted legalization.

Those subsequent budget proposals failed. As it stands right now, Connecticut does not have a budget, and negotiations are at a standstill. That means that there’s still a chance that cannabis legalization could be included in Connecticut’s next budget. According to Regulate Connecticut, legalization would generate an estimated $180 million dollars a year. Cannabis tax revenues in some legal states have exceeded initial tax revenue projections, so the estimate cited by Regulate Connecticut could actually prove to be lower than what may occur if/when Connecticut legalizes.

$180 million dollars in annual cannabis tax revenue is obviously more than enough to cover UConn’s current budget shortfall. Cannabis legalization in Connecticut could also generate more than 19,000 jobs, many of which could be filled by UConn graduates. With 63% of Connecticut voters supporting such a policy change, lawmakers need to step up and get Connecticut on the right side of history.

If you live in Connecticut, contact your legislators and let them know that you support cannabis legalization and that it should be included in Connecticut’s next budget. Also, consider getting involved with Regulate Connecticut and/or supporting their effort with a financial contribution. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Regulate Connecticut on Facebook and Twitter, and tell others to do the same. Do your part and help free the plant!