In a 34:10 vote on Tuesday April 12 a Connecticut legislative committee voted to allow state residents to use marijuana for the treatment of certain medical conditions. If passed, the legislation would prohibit the arrest and prosecution of qualified, state registered patients. The legislation was proposed by Democratic Governor Dannel P Malloy. A similar measure was vetoed by (then) Governor M Jodi Rell in 2007.
The approvals came despite the view of some legislators that this would send ‘the wrong message’ about smoking dope. State Rep. Bruce V. Morris of Norwalk is one of the few Democrats to vote against the medical marijuana bill. Mr Morris admitted he struggled with bill, mainly due to the lack of controls necessary for regulation.
A touch of surrealism was brought to the proceedings by state Rep Al Adinolfi, who in a strange and sometimes meandering tale, told the story of a family friend who used medical marijuana to help with the pain of cancer. This is a direct quote from Mr Adinolfi:
“He smoked, he kept on smoking marijuana, just quite regularly and he felt good all the time, naturally. And things progressed. His ear actually fell off. But marijuana kept him going … and finally, in the end, because he refused to go for treatment, because he felt good and he felt comfortable, he died. … In this case, the marijuana helped him die.”
Try as I might I can’t find anything in the literature about marijuana causing ears to fall off… Funny it might be, but this sort of antiquated attitude towards marijuana doesn’t bode well for the future of legalized medical marijuana in Connecticut.
Along with other states, Connecticut is looking at the possibility that marijuana sales will generate some state revenue and to this end Governor Lincoln Chafee has proposed levying a sales tax on all marijuana sales. With experts predicting $25 in marijuana sales next year, the income would certainly be worth having.
The Malloy administration, together with state legislators, are now working amendments to the bill to address a variety of concerns, including where medical marijuana patients will obtain their medication and whether they will be permitted to grow their own supply.
The bill is modelled on the successful Massachusetts bill that was approved by referendum back in 2008.
In summary, another step on the journey but there’s a way to go yet.