Lawmakers in Hartford were scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday morning to discuss several bills that would push to legalize marijuana in Connecticut.
One of those bills would allow doctors to prescribe the drug for people suffering from certain medical conditions.
John Lorenzo, a former chief of marine police with the Lake Lillinonah Authority, was scheduled to testify in support of the bills.
“The current law forces police officers in Connecticut to waste hour after hour chasing marijuana users, arresting them and processing their cases,” he said. “If we decriminalized marijuana in this state, police could solve more burglaries, rapes and murders, and it would free up jail space and save the dollars wasted on keeping otherwise ordinary citizens incarcerated. Marijuana prohibition does nothing to protect public safety. It only threatens it.”
Lorenzo is a speaker for the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international group of police officers, judges, corrections officials, border agents and other criminal justice professionals.
In addition to the bills decriminalizing possession of marijuana, the committee was also scheduled to hear bills that would legalize the medical use of marijuana for people whose doctors said it could help them.
If those bills were to pass, Connecticut would join 15 other states and Washington D.C., in protecting medical marijuana patients from being arrested.
A poll released last week by Quinnipiac University showed Connecticut voters supported decriminalizing marijuana by a 65-32 margin, and said they favor medical marijuana 79-17.
Both proposals have majority support across political parties and among all age groups, according to the poll.
Connecticut currently spends $130 million enforcing marijuana prohibition laws every year, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.
The public hearing was scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford.
– Article from Eyewitness News.
Whoa! Almost 8 in 10 Connecticut Voters Support Marijuana Reforms
Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed strong support for medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization among Connecticut voters. The poll comes at state legislators consider medical marijuana and decriminalization bills.
Medical marijuana had the support of a whopping 79% of respondents. Support was above 70% in every demographic, with even 72% of Republicans favoring it.
“There is a near consensus on the medical marijuana law with about eight in 10 voters supporting it,” said Quinnipiac poll director Dr. Douglas Schwartz. “It’s rare to see such a level of support for any issue.”
Support for pot decriminalization wasn’t as overwhelming, but still high—and trending upward. Decriminalization was supported by a two-to-one margin, with 65% in favor and 32% opposed. That’s up seven points from the 58% who supported it in last year’s March Quinnipiac poll.
Decriminalization was also supported by every demographic, with even 53% of Republicans and 58% of voters over age 64 in favor. Support was at 70% among Democrats and voters 18 to 34 years old.
The poll was conducted March 1 through 7 by surveying 1,693 registered voters. The poll used live interviewers and called both land lines and cell phones. It a margin of error of +/-2.4% percentage points.
Connecticut voters have clearly signaled in this poll their policy preferences on medical marijuana and decriminalization. Now, let’s hope the state legislature, and especially key committee chairs, are paying attention.
– Article from Alternet.