Pot or Not? What Are the Real-Life Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana?

Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism encourages CT residents to educate themselves on the debate about the legalization of marijuana.

In anticipation of the debate on the future of marijuana in Connecticut, scheduled for Oct. 30, 2013 at 7 p.m. in Danbury, the following op-ed piece was submitted by Redding, CT, resident Lee Bodkin of the Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism (MCCA)

Public opinion now favors legalization of marijuana. Last March the Pew Research Center conducted a poll and found that for the first time in more than four decades, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana; 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

Connecticut recently joined the growing list of states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. By the spring of 2014, patients in Connecticut will be able to buy marijuana in licensed dispensaries. Connecticut has also decriminalized marijuana; possession of a half-ounce or less is a civil violation.

Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for adult use. Can Connecticut be far behind?

For every argument in favor of legalization there are arguments against it. Some argue that legalizing marijuana would lower the criminal impact. Others argue that putting marijuana in the hands of corporations — who market to teens — would add to growing substance abuse among our youth. As the hot topic of marijuana grows, the amount of available information keeps on growing, however there is not a lot of consistency.

Because this is such an important issue with far reaching ramifications for our communities, MCCA is sponsoring a free and open debate: Pot or Not. This debate will provide an opportunity for students, educators, parents, civic leaders, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, social workers, mental health care professionals, and business owners, to hear both sides of this important issue.

The debate will take place on October 30th at the Ives Concert Hall, Western Connecticut State University at 7 pm. 

State Representative Terrie Wood will moderate the debate between Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds and Erik Williams.

Terrie Wood is serving her 3rd term as State Representative for Darien and Norwalk. She currently serves as ranking member on the Human Services committee, and also serves on theRegulations Review and Appropriations committees. Ms. Wood served on the Regulations Review Committee for Medical Marijuana in the state of Connecticut.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds is the Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). He has authored more than 200 news and op-ed articles and is consistently used as an expert source for substance abuse, addiction, HIV/AIDS and human/civil rights information by local and national radio, television, Internet and print outlets.

Erik Williams is the Executive Director of Connecticut NORML He has 20+ years in political consulting, public and community relations, and legislative experience nationally, and is the Founder and Principal at Campaigns Won. Erik played a leading role in drafting CT PA 12-55, and securing its passage. He has worked on marijuana reform issues throughout the country.

I urge all members of the community to attend this public forum to broaden their knowledge on this important issue and be a part of the conversation. For more information on Pot or Not go to mccaonline.com.

Lee Bodkin
Director of Communications
MCCA (Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism)


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