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CNDP March 2017 Newsletter #2
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Pathways to Legalization in Connecticut
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
 
The state of Connecticut is moving forward at a surprising pace perhaps to become the first state to legalize marijuana through the action of a state legislature rather than a ballot initiative.  Legislative sponsors have provided a Top Ten List of why this should happen.  We present this here, along with my press conference statement in support of the proposal.

Proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act call for the elimination of mental health and drug treatment for low-income individuals, and for dismantling Medicaid by shifting it to the states.  We provide you with the opportunity to Take Action in opposition to these measures, that would deny essential care to so many individuals who desperately need it.
 
Rev. Alexander E. Sharp,
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Marijuana: Are Religious Values at Stake?

It is good news that Connecticut may become the first state to legalize marijuana through the action of state legislators rather than by ballot initiative. On the morning of March 7, a new state coalition-- Regulate Connecticut -- held a press conference to launch a campaign to tax and regulate marijuana there. The Public Health Committee of the Connecticut House then held over 14 hours of hearings.

In the press conference, I made the case that legalizing marijuana can, and should, be made on religious, not just secular grounds. This is not immediately obvious. It requires a closer look.

Legalizing marijuana can happen in three ways. Medical marijuana is the first. Most clergy I know “get this.” Making cannabis available as medicine is an act of compassion and mercy. It brings relief from suffering. This is now legal in 28 states.

 

CNDP participate˚s in press conference to support taxation and regulation in Connecticut


Top 10 List of Reasons to Legalize Marijuana in CT

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The proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act threatens nothing less than the dismantling of our national Medicaid program. Instead of a federal mandate, Medicaid will be passed on to the states.  

Under proposed repeal and replacement, the designation of mental health and drug treatment will be eliminated as an essential health benefit for a broad range of very low-income families and individuals. When the must compete for state funds, these services will be the first to go.

Overall, regardless of any particular service category, state budgets will not be able to keep pace with health care needs of the poor. Funding based on per capita limits will be inadequate as program costs rise over time.

Many individuals in the 31 states who received coverage for the first time under Medicaid expansion will not qualify for care under state programs after 2020, perhaps sooner. This is, in part, because anyone who left the program after 2020 will not be able to re-enroll. Large numbers will fall precisely into this category due to changing incomes.

Nationwide, over 11 million individuals became eligible for health care under the Affordable Care Act. Governor John Kasich (R) of Ohio estimates that most of the 700,000 individuals added in Ohio will lose health coverage if Medical expansion goes away; Senator Cory Gardner (R) of Colorado is concerned about the outcome for 300,000.

It is important that we raise our voices in protest, especially in key states such as Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Massachusetts, where key Republicans -- either governors, senators, or both -- are worried about the loss of health care.

The U.S. House of Representatives may vote on ACA Repeal today. If it passes, it will then move to the U.S. Senate.

Support mental health and drug treatment. Insist that Medicaid as a federal mandate not be dismantled.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
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Clergy for a New Drug Policy 111 W. Jackson Blvd Chicago, IL 60604

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