Lawmakers held public hearing on legalizing marijuana at State Capitol Friday

Connecticut

The hearings started at 10:00 am Friday morning with dozens testifying either in support of legal marijuana or warning of potential dangers.

Michelle Seagull, Commissioner Department of Consumer Protection said, “It would create like other products, a product available for adults to use.”

The commissioner of the state department that oversees medical marijuana was answering questions about what a legal program might look like, while lawmakers in a separate room heard from physicians warning about the dangers of legalizing cannabis. 

Seagull said, “It puts in requirements for where these businesses would be located. It has some requirements to not have marketing for kids.” 

Lawmakers are considering several bills to allow adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 1.5 ounces of pot, and even clearing pot convictions. 

But supporters say it doesn’t go far enough. 

Norman Plude of Seymour is one of original patients that first started using medical marijuana. “I think all nonviolent cannabis convictions should be expunged. Not just now but all the way back to 1937 since prohibition started,” Plude said. 

Retailers, growers and labs would be regulated by a new commission and the state department of consumer protection. 

A so-called “Equity” component is intended to benefit people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by drugs.  Lawmakers expressed serious concerns.

Rep. Vincent  Candelora, (R), North Branford said, “Are we going to give preference to convicted drug dealers to be able to open up marijuana shops and sell it. Highly controversial…And those are some of the things we need to work through.” 

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