Yesterday Malloy submitted a packet of bills aimed at “reducing the state’s prison population, making the criminal justice system more cost-effective and focusing resources on repeat violent and serious offenders.” They all sound like good ideas, right?
Malloy’s legalization bill is similar to the one former Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed back in 2007. If enacted, the new legislation would prohibit the arrest and prosecution of qualified medical marijuana patients who have registered with the state. Patients will also be able to grow up to four plants as well.
Under the proposed decrim legislation, possession of weed would no longer be a criminal offense and those caught with less than an ounce would be charged with an infraction and hit with about a $100 fine instead of that misdemeanor. Col. Danny R. Stebbins, acting Department of Public Safety Commissioner, was a big fan of the proposed legislation and thought it would save the state millions of dollars just at the right time…with resources being all scarce and stuff.
“While the state has been spending millions in arrests, prosecution and post-conviction probation for small amounts of marijuana, it has been failing to fund necessary staffing for DNA analysis that will solve cold cases and bring to justice the state’s most violent criminals,” he said.
Unfortunately, the bills were met by some big-time haters. Connecticut’s top prosecutor, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, went off telling the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee that he doesn’t see how his office is gonna be savin’ any money based on all these new, weed-friendly proposals.
“The reality is, people do not go to jail for possession of small quantities of marijuana. It doesn’t happen without aggravating factors,” Kane said. He also went on to point out that the legislation could send the message that the state of Connecticut actually “tolerates” marijuana and grumbled about how the bill makes no distinction between adults and minors, and then he went on to bitch about how there’s no limits on how many times someone could get busted with weed…blah blah blah.
Kane also said records were not available for busts involving people who were caught holding less than an ounce, but said he “knows of 31 cases” where people who got busted with more than an ounce had all these other pending charges. But, he failed to point out any correlation.
Michael Lawlor, Governor Malloy’s Undersecretary of Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy and Management was able to find those records and said figures from the General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis show that in 2009 there were 8,118 arrests statewide for possession of marijuana. In 2,700 of those cases, possession of marijuana was the only charge and 75 percent of those involved less than one ounce.
But the hate didn’t stop there as Connecticut Senator Toni Boucher had the audacity to ask the General Assembly NOT to pass either proposal! “We must not give Connecticut a ‘soft on crime’ reputation where it becomes easy to obtain a get out of jail free ticket,” Boucher said in a press release issued by her office Monday afternoon. “Marijuana is a harmful, Schedule I, federally illegal drug that does not save or improve lives. It can undermine the seriously ill’s best prospect of recovery and is the wrong prescription for Connecticut.”
Senator Boucher armed herself with a sympathy vote, a dude from a nearby town named, Ronni McLaughlin, a believer of the ol’ debunked “gateway theory” whose son died of a drug overdose in ’04, at the age of 20. Given the fact that there has never been a single death caused by marijuana and the gateway theory has been disproved by the breast-milk to bourbon theory…because we all know breast milk leads to bourbon as much as marijuana leads to meth…what’s the purpose of even having the dude there? Despite the lack of a credible theory or even anything remotely relevant to bring to the table…McLaughlin made a lame ploy for sympathy and misunderstanding, anyhow.
“If lawmakers approve this marijuana legislation it will be a grave mistake,” McLaughlin threatened. “I’ve seen first hand the damage this gateway drug has on individuals and families.”
Legalizing herbal medicine or removing the criminal aspect of possessing a plant…a grave mistake, eh? REALLY? We’ll see about that…
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