Legalizing marijuana gets attention of Connecticut lawmakers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Legalizing marijuana gets attention of Connecticut lawmakers

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

Connecticut lawmakers are taking their most serious look to date at legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults.

This year's push at the state Capitol comes as Connecticut continues to face budget deficit problems. New projections show Connecticut could reap millions in additional revenue.

Also, a new law in neighboring Massachusetts will fully take effect next year.

Several bills with bipartisan support that sanction the retail sale and cultivation of pot are progressing through the General Assembly. But despite the apparent enthusiasm, it's questionable they'll become law.

State Rep. Holly Cheeseman (R-37) is speaking up in opposition to proposed bill H.B. 5314, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana amongst adults in Connecticut. 

“To attempt to solve the state’s revenue problems in this way – one that risks justifying the health and well-being of our citizens – is unacceptable. I stand with the American Academy of Pediatrics, who continues to share the short- and long-term negative consequences of use in adolescents. A change in the legal status of marijuana, even if only among adults, increases the risk of use by adolescents by lessening the perception of harm. State government needs to cure its addiction to spending, not treat it by creating more addictions in our residents," Cheeseman said in a statement on Monday. 

Cheeseman also testified in person before the Public Health Committee against this bill. She argued the American Addiction Centers and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that about "10-15% of the population is prone to addictive disorders and of these, about 4.2 million over the age of 11 battled a marijuana use disorder in 2014."   

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy still has personal concerns about legalizing marijuana and has said Connecticut should wait and see what happens in Massachusetts and other states. A spokeswoman for the governor says the Democrat is following the debate in the legislature.

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