State Lawmakers Hear Pleas To OK Use of MMJ

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  State Lawmakers Hear Pleas To OK Use of MMJ

Posted by CN Staff on March 15, 2011 at 06:46:17 PT
By Kenton Robinson  
Source: The Day 

Hartford, C.T. -- Lindsey Beck, 26, of Voluntown had a simple question Monday for the state legislators sitting on the Judiciary Committee."Part of human life is suffering and pain, the payoff being joy and pleasure," Beck said. "However, is it not our obligation as a species that can show compassion to wish the minimal amount of suffering upon each individual?" Beck was there to ask legislators to pass a bill to allow persons with illnesses that could be relieved by the use of marijuana to use the drug without fear of arrest.
The committee was conducting a hearing on a number of bills that would change the way the state treats marijuana use and possession, including two that would essentially decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce by reducing it from a misdemeanor to an infraction.Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign both a medical marijuana bill and a bill reducing the penalty for possession to a simple fine.The story Beck told the legislators was one of a succession of maladies - Crohn's disease, "which causes me a great deal of physical pain, has inhibited my ability to eat most everything and has no cure," cervical cancer and fibromyalgia - and the succession of narcotics that her doctors put her on.The narcotics - including dilaudid, fentanyl and vicodin - reduced her to a helpless stupor, making her unable to be a mother to her young son or even to function in the most basic of circumstances, she said.She said she realized "that this was not the kind of life worth living" and decided to get off the drugs. "My withdrawal seemed to continue for more than a month, causing me at some points to truly question my own sanity."In the end, the only thing that has truly given her relief, she said, is marijuana."I am here today to ask you for something that most would never have to," Beck told the committee. "Please let me have some quality to my life. I can accept the hand that I've been dealt. All I want is to be allowed to try to live it with some dignity and substance. I just want to raise my son and go back to college and have a career."I realize that there is opposition to this bill, but in my opinion the opposition would do better to battle the pharmaceutical companies' use of narcotics as their main weapon against pain," Beck said. "I will never comprehend an individual who tells me I can be on all the opiates they can prescribe but that the joint I smoke is dangerous."Beck was one of a long list of witnesses who came to urge the committee to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Among them was Barry Williams, a former lobbyist well-known to many of the legislators who described the devastation that Parkinson's disease has visited upon him."Since my diagnosis in 2004, my world has grown smaller and smaller. It takes me an hour to get dressed every morning, trying to figure out a new way to pull my pants on," Williams said. "I can't do the normal things that other dads can do with their sons."He suffered, he said, until "my doctor told me a little secret: If I smoked some marijuana, there was a good chance that I could feel symptom-free for a while. I tried it. The doctor was right. For the first time in a long time I felt normal."There was also a great deal of argument over two bills that would reduce the possession of less than an ounce of the drug to an infraction, subject to a fine.Under the governor's proposed version of the bill, the charge for possession of less than an ounce would be subject to a fine of $99, Michael Lawlor, undersecretary of the Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division of the state Office of Policy and Management, told the committee."And there's a couple advantages to this policy change," Lawlor said. "First of all, it acknowledges what is the reality in our courts today, which is that virtually everyone who is arrested solely for small amounts of marijuana ends up with a dismissal of the charges."To get to the point of dismissal, he said, the criminal justice system devotes significant resources. There are more than 8,000 arrests every year for possession of marijuana, and a little more than 2,000 of those are for possession of less than an ounce, Lawlor said.State Sen. Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, passionately objected to both bills to legalize medical marijuana and to reduce the penalties for possession.For the past 18 years, Cafero said, he's served as the expulsion officer for Norwalk schools, and he's learned from experience that marijuana has a devastating effect on students' lives."What you'll see, folks, is a pattern. You'll see a pattern of students that were getting As and Bs who are now getting Cs and Ds and even failing," he said. "You'll see a pattern of kids who maybe were playing sports and maybe involved in extracurricular activities, and they no longer are. They quit. Whether it was band. Or whether it was the chess club. Or something else."Source: Day, The (CT)Author: Kenton Robinson Published: March 15, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Day Publishing Co.Contact: editor theday.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #2 posted by Paul Pot on March 16, 2011 at 04:11:18 PT:

What this guy Cafero is confessing to is abuse and harassment of school kids. Once it's found out that they have been smoking, the establishment picks on them and abuses them into submission. Of course the kids and adults too, lose all their motivation and ambition once you realise that the establishment, our elders and betters so-called, are just a bunch of liars and bullies.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on March 15, 2011 at 09:28:43 PT

crazed zealot
>>State Sen. Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, passionately objected to both bills to legalize medical marijuana and to reduce the penalties for possession.For the past 18 years, Cafero said, he's served as the expulsion officer for Norwalk schools,This guy would be a star in the Catholic Church! Maybe he should call the Philly archdiocese for an interview?

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