Letter to the Editor of the Hartford Courant Re: Rhode Island Pot Law

June 29, 2009

To The Editor:

I was dismayed and disappointed to read your June 29th editorial “Rhode Island Sets Good Example With Pot Law”. Like the author of the editorial, I, too have seen friends and family battle debilitating illnesses and want them to have access to the best medical treatment possible. However, permitting people to grow their own illegal and dangerous drug is not providing the best possible medical treatment, and Governor M. Jodi Rell was correct to veto legislation that would have permitted that.

Recently the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment issued a report linking marijuana use to cancer, stating that its extensive review of scientific papers shows that marijuana smoke contains 33 of the same harmful chemicals contained in tobacco smoke. Science Daily on June 15, 2009 reported that using a highly sensitive new test, scientists in Europe are reporting “convincing evidence” that marijuana smoke damages the genetic material, DNA, in ways that could increase the risk of cancer. Additional research from other sources shows that the respiratory difficulties associated with marijuana use preclude the inhaled route of administration as a medicine. Smoked marijuana is associated with higher concentrations of tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens than even cigarette smoke. Again, marijuana adversely impairs lung function, causes abnormalities in the cells lining, the airways of the upper and lower respiratory tract and in the airspaces deep within the lung, and it causes cancer.

In other words, smoking marijuana is likely to make healthy people sick and sick people sicker. It would be extremely irresponsible for the state of Connecticut to have a law on the books that would harm the very people it is meant to help.

Furthermore, permitting marijuana use would send the wrong message to young people who have their whole lives ahead of them, lives that surely hold more promise when not compromised by the use of dangerous recreational drugs. I will continue to oppose the legalization of marijuana because I believe that existing research proves that doing so would cause a great deal of harm – and not provide the relief that proponents claim.


State Senator Toni Boucher

Senator Toni Boucher, R-26th Senatorial District