Marijuana-legalization debate brings out the crowd’s pros and cons

Last night’s debate on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use brought out a small but diverse crowd at Western Connecticut State University, with the margins occupied by 12-steppers on one side and college kids on the other. In the middle were people like Kate Hintz, from over the border in North Salem, N.Y. , whose 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter Morgan Jones, has been subject to one to 20 seizures a day from Dravet Syndrome that she believes could be alleviated if the child were allowed to ingest some medical marijuana. A recent CNN story featured a child whose day-long seizures have been reduced to a handful by treatments with marijuana. Indeed, Rep. Terrie Wood, R-Darien, who moderated the debate, acknowledged that use of cannabis by sick kids is bound to come up during next year’s legislative session. The current medical marijuana law prohibits its use from those under 18. Unfortunately for Hintz, New York State has not adopted medical cannabis legislation of any kind. She said wanted to attend the debate because she knew that other parents she knows from Connecticut couldn’t because they were home with their ailing children.

After an interview with Hintz, Jeff Casey, 50, of New Fairfield, a marijuana opponent, said the effort to legalize is symptomatic of the decline of the country in the 21st Century. “Our grandchildren are going to look back and wonder what we were smoking,” Casey said as the Ives auditorium was emptying. “It’s an escape from reality.” About 100 attended the event in the 700-seat hall.