Proposal on table to legalize pot in Connecticut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Proposal on table to legalize pot in Connecticut

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Just two days into the legislative session and there is already a bill at the Capitol for legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

The issue has come up before, but lawmakers are deeply divided on this issue.

Supporters believe making pot legal would bring in quite a chunk of change, but opponents worry about the negative effects.

In recent years, Connecticut has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and allowed it to be used for certain medical conditions.

Now there is an extra push to legalize it for recreational use.

"We should have an open, honest dialogue and discussion about what it really means for our state. It's something we should do," said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

Last year there was an informational meeting on the issue, but not much progress toward getting a bill signed.

AAA is one company that wants nothing to do with the movement. 

"People think alcohol and marijuana are the same in terms of measuring levels of impairment, but there is no comparison whatsoever," explained AAA spokesperson Amy Parmenter.

At a AAA drugged driving summit held in Connecticut, experts said there was "no scientific correlation between the amount of marijuana (or active THC) a person has in their blood and how impaired he or she might be. Any attempt to set an important threshold, like the BAC of .08 for alcohol, would be arbitrary and ineffective. More young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are driving after using marijuana than driving drunk."

"The state of Connecticut, drivers and people who they share the road will pay a steep price," said Parmenter.

A handful of states like Colorado and Washington have legalized pot. States collect a ton of taxes, which has helped them build schools.

On the other hand, highway deaths have doubled, and doctors are seeing more babies born with THC in their blood.

This year lawmakers are planning a public hearing before the bill goes to committees and ultimately a vote.

In a year where the budget deficit could be the highest its ever been, the bill may be too tempting to turn down.

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