‘The Moral High Ground’: Connecticut Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession
Common sense has prevailed in the Constitution State!
Both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly voted today to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The decriminalization bill now heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Patrick “Dan” Malloy, who is expected to sign it into law. Connecticut is now the 14th state to decriminalize cannabis possession.
According to the New Haven Advocate, possession of less than half an ounce (14 grams) of cannabis is no longer considered a misdemeanor under state law. Such an offense now carries a $150 fine for the first infraction, $200 to $500 for subsequent violations. If you’re under age 21, you’ll also be slapped with a 60-day driver’s license suspension.
That’s a big improvement over the $1,000- $3,000 fine and possible jail sentence that marijuana possession currently carries.
The vote in the Senate was tight, with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, also a Democrat, casting the tie-breaker in the 18-18 vote. The tally was 90-57 in the House.
Opponents of the bill voiced their usual misinformed concerns about marijuana being a “gateway drug,” but common sense carried the day. Connecticut is “doing more harm than good when we prosecute people who are caught using marijuana– needlessly stigmatizing them in a way they would not if they were caught drinking underage,” Governor Malloy declared.
Some couldn’t help wonder whether or not Malloy’s interest in decriminalizing marijuana has something to do with the fact that his son Benjamin was arrested for selling and using the drug in 2007. “One of his sons has had serious problems with drugs. [The governor] has a personal interest in this,” Republican Senator Toni Boucher said of the decriminalization bill.
Boucher also objected to the bill because she believes it is the first step in a drive to legalize the drug.
“The groups promoting these bills have stated so– the ultimate design is for full legalization,” she told the Advocate.
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