Third Recreational Marijuana Bill Up For Hearing Includes Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention Programs
A third committee held a public hearing on a third recreational marijuana bill Wednesday, despite a separate bill on the controversial issue facing bipartisan opposition last week.
The legislation up for hearing in the appropriations committee Wednesday, H.B. 5394, calls for developing a plan for the legalization and regulation of cannabis. Unlike the two prior bills, the third seeks to provide substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs.
The bill would require the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management to work with the chief state’s attorney and the commissioners of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Consumer Protection and Revenue Services to develop the legalization and regulation plan in “the most cost effective means.”
The completed plan would be due by Oct. 1 and it would then be submitted to the General Assembly.
The bill has been met with some opposition.
Deborah Schultz of Woodbury wrote to the committee that she found it ironic that the plan to legalize marijuana lies within the one sentence describing the purpose of the bill “while at the same time” providing substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.
“The bill’s own language attests to the fact that the passing of it will bring harm to our citizens. This is the height of immorality and is unconscionable,” Schultz wrote.
Donald Shubert, president of Connecticut Construction Industries Association, wrote the association was opposed to marijuana legalization “because the risks associated with legalizing marijuana and introducing a substance that can cause unquantifiable impairment in the construction industry far outweigh any intended benefits of this bill.”
Shubert said the legislation would leave employers responsible for inherently dangerous and imperceptible situations that they cannot control.
During the hearing Sen. Cathy Osten, an appropriation committee co-chair, said an issue with regulating and legalizing marijuana is that while