Connecticut lessens penalties for marijuana possession

Sunday, June 12, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Connecticut, marijuana, health news

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(NaturalNews) The federal government's phony "war on drugs" is slowly being deconstructed by individual states that are deciding to lessen penalties for, or flat-out decriminalize, the possession of marijuana. This week, Connecticut became the 13th U.S. state to at least partially decriminalize marijuana when it passed SB 1014, a bill that lessens the punishment for being caught possessing marijuana from a criminal offense to a lesser infraction.

In a vote of 90 to 57, the Connecticut House voted to pass SB 1014, and Governor Dan Malloy is expected to sign the bill into law soon. The bill's provisions will pin a $150 fine on first-time offenders caught with half an ounce or less of marijuana, while repeat offenders will be subject to at least a $200, but no greater than $500, fine. You can read the bill for yourself here:

"Final approval of this legislation accepts the reality that the current law does more harm than good -- both in the impact it has on people's lives and the burden it places on police, prosecutors and probation officers of the criminal justice system," said Malloy in a statement following the bill's passage.

Not everyone is pleased with the decision, however. State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) pulled the "think about the children" card when she posted a statement on her website suggesting that the bill's passage sets a bad example for young people by essentially suggesting that drugs are not harmful. Too bad she does not take the same approach for prescription drugs, which are far more damaging to health and society than marijuana usage (

According to Connecticut's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, SB 1014 will save the state roughly $1 million in court and legal costs, while generating $1.4 million in new fines and fees. Meanwhile, the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is working toward complete marijuana reform in the state. It plans to reintroduce reform legislation that died in the Senate last year due to time constraints.

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