HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Legislation that would allow Connecticut adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes continued Friday to move its way through the legislature, easily clearing a key committee.
The General Assembly’s Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee on Friday passed the proposal 36-15. It now moves to the House of Representatives for further action.
Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, a vocal opponent of legalizing medical marijuana, expressed concerns that the proposed system will end up costing the state more money. She proposed several amendments on Friday that would create accounts to help pay for everything from enforcement to addiction programs, but all failed.
“We will need to reinvigorate and support our anti-drug education program and certainly add some funds to our addiction programs for adults as well,” said Boucher, who added that other states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana have seen an uptick in drug addiction issues.
Boucher continued to voice concerns that the legislation sends the wrong message to children.
“I think that we can agree that Connecticut students already have so many barriers to success,” she said.
Advocates are hopeful this could be the year that the legalization proposal will pass the legislature and be signed into law. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, supports the concept. Patients with debilitating diseases have come to Hartford and urged state lawmakers for years to allow the medical use of marijuana, even though it is an illegal substance. They claim the drug is one of the only things that helps bring them relief from pain and other side effects.
The bill proposes a system for licensing medical marijuana producers, dispensing the drug, and registering qualified patients. Doctors would be able to prescribe marijuana to patients who suffer from certain specified illnesses, such as cancer or AIDS. Qualifying patients and their primary caregivers would be able to possess a combined one-month supply of marijuana.