Lawmakers May Discuss Decriminalizing Marijuana

Lawmakers May Discuss Decriminalizing Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 31, 2009 at 08:53:44 PT
By Christopher Keating
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut --  Lawmakers could take up the contentious question of decriminalizing marijuana this afternoon as the state legislature's powerful judiciary committee heads toward a Friday deadline to act on legislation.The judiciary committee had considered a possible vote on the proposal Monday, but the matter was postponed because other bills were debated longer than expected. The committee will meet again today at noon.
Some Democratic legislators have been pushing hard this year for the decriminalization of less than an ounce of marijuana, pointing out among other issues that doing so could save the state more than $11 million in law enforcement costs, according to a new legislative report.But Gov. M. Jodi Rell indicated Monday that she opposes the decriminalization of marijuana. Two of Rell's spokesmen stopped short Monday of using the word "veto," but they both said that Rell opposes the concept."The governor opposes illegal drug use and possession," said spokesman Rich Harris. "Whether it's a little or a lot, marijuana is an illegal drug."Rell traditionally avoids stating her position on bills until they reach her desk, and she rarely mentions a possible veto before the first committee vote is taken.Rell vetoed a bill that would have legalized the medical use of marijuana in June 2007.Although she said that she, as a cancer survivor, had sympathy for those who wanted to use marijuana for pain management, she said that her sympathy could not overcome her concerns that those seeking to obtain the drug would need to break the law to purchase it.This year's bill would reduce the penalty for possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana from the current level of a misdemeanor to an infraction with a maximum fine of $121. Currently, the violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.A proponent of the measure, state Sen. Martin Looney, D- New Haven, said the bill "represents a compassionate and pragmatic policy. Our state should not encourage illegal drug use; however, possession of marijuana for personal use should not leave a person with a life-long criminal record."The bill would cut costs for police, courts, public defenders and prosecutors, he said. The legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis said the 9,928 marijuana arrests in Connecticut in 2007 represented 7 percent of total arrests statewide, and estimated 3,300 of those involved less than an ounce.Current Results:POLL: Should lawmakers decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana?Yes -- 91.6% No -- 7.5% Not sure -- 0.9%Current Total: 4383Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: Christopher Keating, The Hartford CourantPublished: March 31, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: Articles:Gov. Rell Opposes Marijuana Decriminalization Leader Backs Pot Decriminalization Bill
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 15:26:59 PT
New Hampshire's Medical Marijuana Debate
By Adam Sullivan - WCAX NewsEnfield, New Hampshire - March 31, 2009Police Chief Richard Crate of Enfield, N.H., shows what two ounces of marijuana looks like. The cigarettes are made of tobacco, not pot, but Crate says they illustrate roughly how many joints would be legalized for personal consumption under the current medical marijuana bill being debated in New Hampshire."They are taking in a substance that quite honestly they don't know what the potency of it is and purity and they don't know how that is going to affect their body as well as the other medications that they may be on," Crate said.The bill would allow patients suffering from chronic diseases like cancer to possess and even grow up to six plants of the green stuff. But those in the law enforcement community feel that legalizing pot-- even solely for medicinal purposes-- could cause the coined "gateway drug" to wind up in the wrong hands."We already have a problem with prescription drugs where they are being diverted for illegal use," Crate said."I think that that is bogus," Lee Hammond said.Hammond is a former state rep and strongly supports the medical marijuana bill."I don't think that they are going to risk under current law, prosecution for becoming purveyors of marijuana to the general community of the youth community," Hammond said.Hammond feels that people with serious pain should have the option to light up."It just made total sense to me. I couldn't see any logical reason to oppose it," Hammond said.But opponents are quick to give their rationale."It is a recreational drug. It is not medicine," Crate said.Gov. John Lynch has said that he is concerned with the legislation especially because it violates federal law. But the governor said that he will be reaching out to both the medical and law enforcement communities for further study if in fact the bill makes it to his desk. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 10:48:58 PT
Yes he is rational. I saw him on Jon Stewart's show last night. He really is a big Obama supporter too. I really felt bad when his wife died so suddenly.
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Comment #6 posted by MikeC on March 31, 2009 at 10:35:43 PT
I like Jack too. He's a very rational guy.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 10:23:09 PT
The Daily Dish: The Cannabis Closet, Ctd.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 10:21:24 PT
I like Jack.
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Comment #3 posted by MikeC on March 31, 2009 at 10:16:20 PT
Jack Cafferty...
"War on Drugs is Insane"
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 09:28:31 PT
OT: Just a Song
We're listening to Weld and Roll Another Number just played. Neil played this at the end of the Greendale Tour in 03 and the audience really cheered.Roll Another Number - Neil Young and Crazy Horse
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 31, 2009 at 09:21:45 PT
Just a Comment
We are close to getting societies approval for the decriminalization of marijuana. That makes me happy. It has worked well in my state for years.POLL: Should lawmakers decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana?Yes -- 91.6%
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