MARIJUANA REFORM BILLS BRING OUT STRONG, EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY ON BOTH SIDES

Proposed laws that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and allow its use for medicinal purposes elicited very strong opinions on both sides at legislative hearings yesterday and one could easily switch one’s opinion from speaker to speaker.

Speakers included former long-time judiciary committee co-chair Michael Lawlor who is now under secretary for criminal justice policy in the Malloy administration’s budget office; Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane; Executive Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (CT-NORML) Erik Williams; Lindsay Beck of Voluntown who suffers from a number of ailments including Krohn’s disease; and others.

The judiciary committee heard strong testimony both for and against and were clearly divided themselves. State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) was the most ardent opponent and led a half-hour filibuster when similar bills came before the state House when she was a state representative. She was joined in opposition by committee ranking member John Kissel (R-Enfield). Read a full report on the hearings.