Lawmakers Approve Bill to Permit the Medical Use of Marijuana

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The legislature\’s judiciary committee endorsed a measure that would permit patients to obtain a physician\’s prescription for marijuana to ease the symptoms of a debilitating illness.

Proposals to legalize the medical use of marijuana have \”been around a number of years in a number of different forms,\’\’ Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Gerald Fox said. Lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill in 2007, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Last year, a similar bill had the backing of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy but it failed to become law, although lawmakers did approve the decriminalization of a small amount of marijuana.

This year, legislators said they made a number of changes to the bill to quell lingering questions about how patients would obtain the drug. \”It\’s the hope that this bill…can address many of the concerns that people have while still allowing for the relief those who came to testify before us…have stated they get from the use of marijuana,\’\’ said Fox, a Democrat from Stamford.

House Bill 5389 allows a physician to prescribe pot to a patient; the prescription will be limited to one year. Patients would obtain the drug at a licensed dispensary. \”Everybody would have to be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection,\’\’ Fox said.

If approved, Connecticut would become the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found broad support for the bill: Connecticut voters approve of permitted chronically ill patients to use marijuana with a physician’s prescription, 68 percent to 27 percent. The poll of 1,622 Connecticut voters was conducted from March 14 to 19; the margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Interviews were conducted via landlines and cell phones.

During the hour-long debate, several Republicans on the committee expressed concerns about how the proposal would intersect with federal drug policies. \”I\’m sorry I just can\’t find a way to understand…[why] we\’re sidestepping a federal law when when we wink…and tell the doctors it\’s ok [when] the federal government says no,\” Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, said.

Added Rep. Arthur O\’Neill, \”I have a hard time voting for this bill, though I feel an enormous amount of sympathy for the people suffering the pain.\’\’

O\’Neill, R-Southbury, said he would feel more comfortable backing the measure if lawmakers had consulted with the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut to determine how he would handle the law. Committee Co-Chairman Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, said he was agreeable to that idea.

Sen. John Kissel of Enfield, the ranking Republican on the committee, said he was won over to the cause many years ago, after talking with Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, whose late husband relied on medical marijuana to ease the debillitating pain of bone cancer.

Even so, Kissel said he had some concerns about the practical aspects of the proposal: an earlier version permitted patients to grow their own marijuana, a provision that raised safety concerns for him.

But ultimately, Kissel said, the human stories won out. \”When you sit here and…you listen to these individual\’s really horrific circumstances in their lives, who are we to not allow them to access this if it gives them some relief?\”

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4 thoughts on “Lawmakers Approve Bill to Permit the Medical Use of Marijuana

  1. BELA BARTIS

    Be brave and smart, take the initiates to say no to even the Federal Government when they are totally wrong on some issues. To give a pain killer to a ill person under doctors supervision or by prescription is only human, so legalizing Marijuana for treatment purposes is totally human thus right. We should carefully examine the total legalization and make some profit, instead of wasting money on trying to catch the drug cartels and lords. Look at what happened with the alcohol it was illegal and currently is legal, how many work place is created and how much profit is being made, and taxes are paid. Good by Al-Capone and their gangs.

  2. mike

    the federal government cannot and should not be able to dictate what i do with my life, especially MY LIFE outside of work. wtf are they…besides a bunch of rich bastards who know nothing about living like the rest of the people in the country…it’s illegal…so we’re literally passing up BILLIONS of dollars in tax revenue…because some jackass in the 30′s had too much power and no one since has been smart enough?

  3. Paul Bahre

    Ok I’m all for it. Now legalize it. There is no reason for any one to have to deal with the police when it comes to MJ. There is not reason why anyone should get ticketed or arrested as long as they did not partake in any violent actions. As far as I’m concerned it’s a little more than coffee and aspirin but much dangerous than a six pack of beer. One more thing they decimalize MJ but they still have not decriminalized the possession of “drug paraphernalia. How you supposed to smoke pot without a pipe, papers, an apple, tin foil, a potato or even a carrot. What ever you use to ingest the stuff becomes “drug paraphernalia”. They need to define “drug paraphernalia as something used for all other drugs except MJ. Hey these folks are after all legislators and they don’t always think when they pass laws.

  4. Gmoney

    68% of CT Residents (give or take 2.4%) support RON PAUL’s ideals on Individual Liberty, could be another way to title this article!

    The rEVOLution is Winning! This is proof (plus the law where we can film the police) the Constitutionally Conservative & Libertarian ideals, that Ron Paul is helping us to Restore, are deeply rooted in the People. And like a drooping plant, once watered we are springing to Life & Vitality again as a Nation of FRee Individuals!

    CT for RON PAUL 2012

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