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Regional News

Connecticut marijuana advocates push back on bill that would ban free pot promotions

Jeff Chiu
/
AP

Cannabis advocates in Connecticut are pushing back on a bill that would ban the promotional giveaway of pot. They claim it could recriminalize marijuana for those who depend on free samples for medical reasons.

One of the advocates is Douglas Moore. He was born without arms and legs. At a hearing of the General Law Committee, he told lawmakers that he’s on a fixed income and can barely afford to pay for his medical marijuana prescription. Moore said that’s why he depends on gifts from friends who grow pot.

“For me to be actually a normal person like all of you all, I need this gift. So, my question is are you going to arrest me for being gifted? Because this is who you are targeting right now.”

Michael D’Agastino, the co-chair of the committee, assured Moore that won't happen.

“The law as it is drafted does not ban that kind of gifting or arrest you in any way. It's meant to target what are really essentially commercial transactions,” D'Agastino said.

D’Agastino said the bill is to prevent the cannabis industry from using free giveaways of its products as a marketing tool.

Erin Doolittle, a licensed provider in the state’s medical marijuana program, agreed with Moore that the ban would criminalize those who depend on free marijuana samples for medical reasons.

“Through gifting patients and consumers are able to meet directly with farmers, educators, caregivers and other experts who can identify what would be most helpful to them,” Doolittle said.

The legal retail sale of recreational pot begins later this year.

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