No-doubt-accidentally in honor of 4-20, legal medical marijuana in Connecticut (which decriminalized small amounts of pot in 2011) had some promising progress today when the state's financial committee voted 36-15 to legalize medical marijuana, under a measure now on its way to the state House of Representatives. However, several Republican lawmakers managed to voice some objections along the way.
The law would very tightly control medical marijuana, but to Connecticut state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), that's not enough. She gets that marijuana helps some dying people, sure. But what about the children?
She offered several amendments to soften the bill, including one that would have limited the use of medical marijuana to those with terminal illnesses.
"This…is exactly the wrong message to our children," Boucher said. "While trying to help a small few…the costs to our families and children are so severe."
And, inquired, Rep. Prasad Srinivasan what about the financial cost of legalizing medical marijuana?
Srinivasan, a Republican from Glastonbury who is also a medical doctor said he's well aware of the potential benefits of marijuana for ill patients.
"Being a physician and taking care of [the] terminally ill, I am well aware of that there are indications for medical marijuana," he said
But the cost to the state would be prohibitive, Srinivasan said. He questioned figures provided by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. OFA found that any costs associated with the bill, such as the hiring of additional drug control agents, would be offset by revenue gains through registration fees.
The assumption that legalizing the substance would mandate the hiring of more drug control agents and that Connecticut couldn't, ya know, just get along with the amount of agents they had (or, dare to dream, fewer of them) pretty much sums it up. The financial cost estimated by the committee is very minor, but if Connecticut was interested in a real, free market in marijuana, they wouldn't have to consider the cost of any drug control agents, even just two. If you see the benefits of medical marijuana, as Srinivasan claims to, but you consider the the potentially "prohibitive" cost to the state" a deal breaker, you're doing something wrong as a doctor and a politician.
Reason on drug policy