HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- The debate among lawmakers continues regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Lawmakers heard more input on Friday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Several bills under review would allow anyone 21 or older to buy pot.

One proposal calls on erasing some minor marijuana related offenses.

It’s not an easy decision for many lawmakers.

While recreational marijuana is legal in several states, it does come with baggage.

States like California and Colorado have had some problems, which could be potential problems in CT.

"If you legalize it, there may be nothing wrong with it, but that's not true,” said Guilford student Elizabeth Abernathy.

She and a group of other students from Guilford High School went to the hearing on Friday to tell lawmakers to say “no.”

They are concerned about the impact marijuana will have on their communities.

"I don't think anyone would want to bring their children to a park if teenagers were there smoking marijuana,” said Julia Rubbo, of Guilford.

Businesses could make a lot of money if recreational marijuana is legalized, but there are risks.

Some say CT should follow Colorado and use some of the revenue for drug addiction and education.

The Department of Public Health regulates medical marijuana.

"I think CT has a terrific medical marijuana program. There are over 30,000 patients, we have the expertise to have a good and responsible program,” said Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Michelle Seagull.

"If there is a community that has an uptick in crime now, at least they have the money to go in there and help take care of that problem,” said Joe LaChance, of CT Norml.

A report by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health shows since marijuana was legalized recreationally, traffic deaths have increased 151 percent, and urgent care facilities are treating more illnesses and injuries from cannabis abuse.

"We need time, time to train our law enforcement officers. We need time for public education,” said Amy Parmenter, of CT’s AAA.

Even if a law is passed requiring people to be 21 to buy marijuana, those young people say teens will get them just like cigarettes and alcohol, and legalizing it isn't worth the problems it can create.

“It’s pretty hypocritical saying you're going to get money to let people hurt themselves and just help them again. There's nothing achieved or accomplished,” said Keira Stankewich, of Guilford.

While most things seem to be on the table, the one thing that's not part of this discussion is allowing people to grow their own.

The other part of the discussion is what to do with those who have criminal records or are serving time for marijuana crimes, asking if there should be amnesty for them.

The deadline for a vote is April 12.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(4) comments

jasper

No reason not to legalize it. Better than the people buying nips at the liquor store and drinking them while driving.

Ethical1

Except they don't have a way to test someone that's DUI by smoking it.

326

The same way you test for all the pharmacy drugs that are legal that people drive on.

326

People are doing it now regardless, it is decriminalized to the point that most people who use the substance use it anyways. Our state would be no more or less safe if it were legalized. The same people who oppose it, likely won't get rid of alcohol even though it poses the same if not worse safety concerns. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

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