Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Republicans brought up 48 amendments to try and delay vote

By Jeff Saperstone
|  Saturday, May 5, 2012  |  Updated 8:33 PM EDT
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Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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Connecticut's State Senate approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana early Saturday morning.

The final vote was tallied just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday after nearly 10 hours of contentious debate.

Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, a staunch opponent to the measure, spoke for close to five hours before she began introducing amendments to the bill.

48 amendments were filed by Boucher and other Republican opponents.

"Long term and chronic marijuana abuse has now been associated with adverse effects on the heart too," said Sen. Boucher.

During her lengthy speech, Boucher cited numerous studies about the adverse effects of marijuana.

The bill will legalize pot for medical use and set strict regulations on who can use it and who can grow and sell it.

Supporters watched from the gallery.

"There would be a lot of people who would be happy," said Barry Williams.

Williams suffers from Parkinsons and says marijuana is the only thing that works for him.

"It makes me feel normal in a sense," he said.

Critics argue that it's an ill-advised bill that goes against federal law.

The United States Attorney for Connecticut has said the federal government can prosecute those who grow pot.

"If the state legislature is flying in the face of federal law, why are we having this discussion?" Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury asked.

Governor Dannel Malloy commended the General Assembly for passing the bill.  He said he will sign it into law. When he does, Connecticut will join 16 other states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal.

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