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!

connecticut coalition to regulate marijuana

Cliff Robinson Joins The Connecticut Coalition To Regulate Marijuana

Cliff Robinson played on the University of Connecticut (UConn) men’s basketball team from 1985-1989, and led the Huskies to a NIT Championship in 1988. Robinson was named to the 1988 NIT All-Tournament team. Robinson was later selected to UConn’s ‘All-Century Men’s Basketball team,’ and had his college number (’00’) 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 State of Connecticut.

Connecticut is a beautiful state that unfortunately has a cannabis prohibition problem. Other states in the region have voted to end cannabis prohibition already (Maine and Massachusetts), along with Washington D.C.. Vermont is on the verge of legalizing cannabis via legislative action, with a legalization bill sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Other states in the region such as Rhode Island and Delaware are taking a serious look at the idea of getting on the right side of history when it comes to cannabis policy.

Unlike other states that have legalized cannabis via a citizen initiative process, the only way to end cannabis prohibition in Connecticut is via the legislative process. An effort is underway in Connecticut, known as the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, which is calling for the Connecticut Legislature to end cannabis prohibition in the state. Such a move would be supported by Connecticut voters according to polling. A 2015 survey by Quinnipiac University found that 63% of Connecticut voters support legalization, with only 34% opposed.

Cliff Robinson has joined the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana because it is a sensible move that would not only generate tax dollars and jobs in Connecticut, it would also help put an end to the social justice issues that come along with prohibition. Issues such as racial profiling and selective enforcement of prohibition laws, which result in disproportionate arrest rates for in minority and low income communities. Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol, and should be regulated in a similar fashion. Just as regulation helps keep alcohol away from children, so too will regulating cannabis help achieve the same objective. Cannabis is not going away in Connecticut, and there is no need to let cartels and gangs control the market, not when there is a better way.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis in 2012. Since that time both states have generated enormous sums of tax revenue from regulated adult-use cannabis sales. In 2016 alone the State of Colorado generated almost $200 million from cannabis taxes and fees, which is being used to fund all types of things from housing for the homeless, to schools, to addiction treatment programs. Washington State is predicted to generate an even larger amount of cannabis tax revenue in 2017 than Colorado. From a fiscal standpoint, and from a social justice standpoint, legalization is clearly working in both states.

Cliff Robinson is joined on the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana by many other respected community leaders:

Robert Hoffman – Former Chief of Police in Plainfield, CT
David Bingham, MD – Physician (retired)
Gregory Adams, PhD – Chair of Sociology Department at Southern Connecticut State University
Jim Miron, JD – Former Mayor of Stratford, CT
Aaron Romano, JD – Criminal Defense Attorney; Former Prosecutor
Jeff Miron, PhD – Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University
Ryan Safner, PhD – Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at Hood College; UConn graduate
Cliff Thornton – Founder of Efficacy; 2006 Green Party Candidate for Governor
Marla Ackerley – Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Frank Mastri – Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC)
Kebra Smith-Bolden – Registered Nurse (RN)
Rev. Amanda Nelson – Clergy
Rev. Julia Burkey – Clergy
Rabbi Shaul Marshall Praver – Clergy
Rev. Hugh Haffenreffer – Clergy
Rev. Nichole Grant Yonkman – Clergy
Danielle Graham, JD – Attorney
Wildaliz Bermudez – Hartford City Councilwoman

A number of organizations and Connecticut media outlets have also endorsed the effort, with more being added all the time.

“I have seen the failures of cannabis prohibition in Connecticut firsthand. Cannabis prohibition disproportionately harms minority communities wherever prohibition exists, and Connecticut is no exception. The citizens of the great State of Connecticut deserve a better policy like the one that the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is proposing. Other states have made similar moves with great success. Legalization clearly works and it’s beyond time for the Connecticut Legislature to step up and do what is right.” said Cliff Robinson.

Connecticut is facing a hug budget deficit. Cannabis can’t fill the entire void, but it can definitely help, both in the form of taxes generated and via the savings that come from no longer enforcing a failed public policy. The Uncle Cliffy team encourages others to join the effort in Connecticut. Free the plant!