Legalizing Pot Takes Center Stage Again
HARTFORD, CT — As has been the case for the past several years, passionate cases were made by both sides on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut before the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.
The committee has raised a bill, HB 5394, to legalize recreational marijuana in Connecticut.
Cody Roberts, 26, attended Tuesday’s hearing wearing a pro-marijuana flag draped around his shoulders. He said he is a member of Connecticut NORML, a state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Roberts, of Seymour, also said he is part of the state’s growing medical marijuana program, which now numbers more than 20,000 patients.
“I use it for nerve damage,” said Roberts, who added that medical marijuana has helped him steer clear of other substance abuse issues he’s suffered in the past.
“That’s why I think the whole argument that pot is a gateway drug to other drugs is ridiculous,” Roberts said. “I’m tired of that argument and I’m tired of legislators not following the wishes of the majority of the people in Connecticut.”
Nearly two-thirds of Connecticut voters, or 63 percent, support making possession of small amounts of cannabis legal for adults, according to a March 2015 Quinnipiac University poll.
But opponents of legalization don’t believe those numbers or other research proponents often quote that state marijuana isn’t a gateway drug to harder drugs down the road.
“It’s important to look deep into the research and who is doing the research,” Bo Huhn, a spokesman for both CT Smart Approaches to Marijuana and Guilford Development Assets for Youth (DAY), said during a break in the public hearing.
Huhn who testified against legalization before the committee along with two Guilford DAY high school students — Gabby Palumbo and Elizabeth Abernathy — has been a