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Regional News

The Short List Lights Up A Conversation About Cannabis — Now Legal In Connecticut

On Thursday, possession of marijuana became legal for recreational use in Connecticut. That's after the General Assembly and Governor Ned Lamont signed off on the legislation last month.

Recreational sales aren't expected to begin for a year or so, but they've been going on in Massachusetts for a while. Jacob Black, manager at Holyoke Cannabis, said he expects to see even more Connecticut license plates in the parking lot.

“We definitely anticipate quite the influx of business, and I'm glad that more and more states are starting to go legal, so it removes some of the stigma surrounding cannabis and some of those fears that people do have,” Black said.

Panelist Christine Stuart said she thinks Connecticut residents interested in getting marijuana will head to stores across the state line so they can get a “regulated product...and so you know exactly what you're getting.”

“And I think that Massachusetts is going to see a lot of business,” Stuart said. “Because it is going to be a long time for Connecticut to set up its regulatory process, for this to be bought and sold in Connecticut.”

A new report said Springfield is no longer the “asthma capital of the U.S.” That's according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which placed the city as the No. 12 worst place for someone with asthma to live. Springfield had been at the top of the last two reports.

Sarita Hudson with the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts said health care workers have been working with residents on ways to reduce asthma triggers.

“It’s really bridging clinic and community by getting folks who are from the community to be involved in the education,” Hudson said.

Panelist Mike Dobbs said he was “surprised happily” by his city's improved ranking.

“There's been a lot of emphasis in trying to improve air quality in the greater Springfield area,” Dobbs said. “While we still do have problems and we still must take things seriously, at the same time we've seen progress. And I think that that is absolutely tremendous.”

In Connecticut, New Haven was listed as 5th worst in the country, that's a few spots worse than the last report. Hartford improved a little and is now 17th.

Also this week, a large mass vaccination site in Hartford closed it doors as demand has slowed for COVID-19 shots, and officials try a more targeted, community-based approach. In Springfield, the mass vax location at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield will close early next week. It's distributed more than 178,000 shots as the state also transitions to a similar strategy.

As we wrap things up this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently proposed having a two-month sales tax holiday in August and September, instead of the usual one lasting a weekend. The Democratic leadership in the Legislature and some local lawmakers are cool to the idea.

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