On Wednesday State Representative John Shaban visited Joel Barlow High School to be a guest speaker for part of the Academy series held by the school.
Shaban gave a brief overview of the legislative process to a group of approximately 60 students in the school’s cafeteria. He then ran a mock debate on to the featured topic for his visit, the palliative use of marijuana, serving as a neutral moderator.
Earlier this year a law allowing the medical use of marijuana was signed by Governor Malloy making Connecticut just the 17th state to permit it.
Shaban offered the students a synopsis of the public testimony he heard as member of the Judiciary Committee, covering the various arguments and testimony both in favor and against the bill. The discussion also ventured into a debate on Federalism and states’ rights, as the group considered the fact that under federal law the medical use of marijuana is still illegal regardless of state bills to the contrary.
“I was impressed by the engaged and intelligent discussion the students offered today,” Shaban said. “For the most part, their questions and arguments mirrored the debate that took place in Hartford over the last four months and in years past. It’s a difficult issue with a lot of nuance and reasonable arguments on both sides. The students handled it really well, and I think they learned something about their government in the process.”
Shaban also took some time at the end to answer some questions on other issues that came up in Hartford including the education bill.
The Academy Series at Joel Barlow High School offers a wide variety of topics and guest speakers and allows students to choose a topic they are interested in. Representative Shaban says he is interested in returning to the school to cover other topics that may be of interest to the students.