WILTON, Conn. As the Connecticut legislature takes up the contentious issue of legalizing the medical use of marijuana, state Sen. Toni Boucher stood in front of the Judiciary Committee and spoke out against the idea.
It is disappointing, Boucher said during a hearing in Hartford on Wednesday, that this type of legislation should be introduced during a session so focused on education reform. We should not be considering a bill that would send a such a negative message to our families and children the very ones that education reform is meant to assist in making the most of their potential, Boucher said in her statement. Boucher, a Republican represents Wilton and part of Norwalk.
If the bill passed, she said, it would increase substance abuse, crime and legal challenges in Connecticut that have characterized medical marijuana programs in other states.
State Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, agreed with Boucher. But because of the changes in the dispensing methods, he said the bill will come out of committee and will be heard on the legislative floor. The Senate minority leader also represents parts of Easton and Weston.
A major concern of McKinneys is that the universe of illnesses for which medical marijuana is prescribed is far too broad.
Law enforcement officials are concerned how medical marijuana could be regulated on the street.
Easton's Police Chief James Candee said Thursday that he had several questions surrounding the possible legalization. "I think it's important to ask how can the police department ID someone who is supposed to be carrying it?" Candee said if the bill were to pass, he would like to see prescription approval labeled on drivers licenses or have the state issue identification cards to those who are prescribed the drug. "A photo ID would be nice," Candee said. This way, he said, if an officer were to come into contact with a person legally in possession of marijuana, they can differentiate them from someone who is using the drug illegally.
John Troxell, Weston's chief of police, said he understands the fears on the lack of regulation. But he said, "All that will be worked out by the state government."
A real problem, he said, could come from anyone who drives under the influence of the drug, which he said would be an arresting offense.
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