By Margaret St. Pierre
Today’s news is some of the happiest I have heard in a while. It is with great pleasure that I inform you that Connecticut’s House of Representatives has voted yes on 96-51, aka legalizing medical marijuana for CT residents! Born and raised in the nutmeg state, I am extremely proud and excited about the vote, and am eager to see how its progression will affect the state.
You can’t have a good thing without some haters of course. It’s probably no shock to anyone that Connecticut is crawling with them. We CT natives have a reputation for being loaded with money, snobby and arrogant. This is a stereotype that is so far from the truth, but exists nevertheless- even I’m shocked the bill was passed because lets face it, arrogant rich snobs are never in favor of legalizing marijuana.
The bill states that patients suffering from illnesses such as glaucoma, HIV, cancer and multiple scleroses are able to use medical marijuana provided that it is prescribed by a licensed physician. Patients must re-apply for the prescription after one full year, and can only refill once a month. The drug will still be banned from public places, moving vehicles, in the presence of minors and of course in school zones, but does not specifically state what form the drug will be in. After seven hours of debate the measure passed with 96 in favor and 51 not in favor. Interestingly enough, 17 Republicans voted for the bill and 17 House Democrats voted against it.
Representative Penny Bacchiochi says that this bill is better than any other that has been offered in the past decade for several reasons. “It sets up a system for growing and dispensing marijuana. Patients would not have to grow the marijuana plants themselves. The number of producers would be limited to 10 and they’d be charged a $25,000 non-refundable application fee.” On top of all that, dispensaries will be required to be overseen by a licensed physician
Personally I think that sounds like a fine bill! However, Connecticut U.S. Attorney David B. Fein disagrees. I can only imagine how pissed he must have upon hearing the result of the vote, for sent a “strongly-worded” letter to two of the state senators about the bill only two days before. In the letter, Fein wrote
“House Bill 5389 will create a licensing scheme that appears to permit large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution, which would authorize conduct contrary to federal law and undermine the federal government’s efforts to regulate the possession, manufacturing, and trafficking of controlled substances. Accordingly, the Department of Justice could consider civil and criminal legal remedies against those individuals and entities that set up marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries, as they will be doing so in violation of federal law.” – David B. Fein
The bill is causing quite a stir according to The Hartford Courant. Many are worried about what kind of messages will be sent to Connecticut’s younger generations. Some are concerned that legalizing the drug will effect work performance negatively, and a number of people agree that the issue shouldn’t even be discussed on a state level because it is a federal matter.
All that aside, the only message I’m getting from of all these haters is that they are freaking out because they are loosing control and it seems to me that they simply don’t want to see sick people get better. I will never understand why these patients should be denied the one medicinal substance that makes them feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why the government may not want everyone and their mother walking around like a stoned zombie, but the fact of the matter is that marijuana is everywhere and under no circumstances will it ever disappear for good.
Needless to say, I am most definitely looking forward to my next trip home to Connecticut, and will keep my fingers crossed that this bill is put into effect smoothly. I encourage you all to read some of the specifics of the debate here in hopes of forming your own opinions if and when medical marijuana is legalized in your state too!