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Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Key Committee Vote in Connecticut

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Apr 2, 2003.


    Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Key Committee Vote

    HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT -- Connecticut's medical marijuana bill, H.B. 5100, passed the Joint Judiciary Committee today by a vote of 21 to 18. The bill, sponsored by Rep. James Abrams (D-Meriden), now goes to the Joint Committee on Health.

    "This is an important step forward for seriously ill patients in Connecticut," said Billy Rogers, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Last year the Judiciary Committee failed to act on a similar bill. People with cancer, AIDS, and other serious illnesses shouldn't have to risk going to jail for the simple act of taking their medicine, and this year we're hopeful Connecticut will act to protect them. Jim Abrams has done a magnificent job of guiding this important legislation."

    H.B. 5100 is similar to laws now on the books in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington that allow patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or other serious illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes with the recommendations of their doctors. These laws have allowed tens of thousands of patients to gain relief from debilitating pain, nausea, appetite loss, and other symptoms without fear of arrest and jail.

    Implementation of these existing medical marijuana laws has generally gone smoothly. In November 2002, the General Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress) issued an extensive analysis of the implementation of four such laws, reporting that the majority of law-enforcement organizations interviewed experienced very few problems and "indicated that medical marijuana laws had had little impact on their law enforcement activities."

    Public opinion polls have shown strong and increasing public support for legislation to protect medical marijuana patients. A statewide poll conducted by the Lucas Organization in March 2002 found 73.3 percent support for medical marijuana legislation among Connecticut voters. The most recent national survey, published by Time last November 4, found 80 percent public support for allowing medical use of marijuana.

    With 11,000 members nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. To this end, MPP focuses on removing criminal penalties for marijuana use, with a particular emphasis on making marijuana medically available to seriously ill people who have the approval of their doctors.

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