The state judiciary committee heard testimony Monday on legislation that would allow people aged 21 or older to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Speaking before the committee, Will Luzier of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said he was arrested in 1970 for marijuana possession. The case was thrown out.

“I was lucky," he said. "There are hundreds of thousands of citizens across this nation who are not as lucky as I was. Their access to jobs, housing and education has been compromised for life.”

Luzier and other supporters of the legislation claimed that marijuana is less damaging than alcohol, and said its prohibition has lead to a dangerous black market. But Sharon Levy, who runs the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, refuted the harmless label.   

“And every day I sit with kids and families who can not stop smoking marijuana," she said. "Whose lives are being destroyed by it. Who are failing out of school.”

Levy and others testified that marijuana can lead to abuse of more addictive drugs like opioids. If the legislature doesn’t pass this bill or a similar one that’s been introduced, voters will get their say in a state referendum in November.