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Moms Talk Q&A: What Do You Think about Decriminalizing Marijuana?

Do You Worry About Your Kids? Or Is it a Way to Safeguard Them?

The state House and Senate have approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Connecticut. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Malloy.

Among the bill's detractors is tate Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, who says there are serious health risks and even more serious social consequences to marijuana use.

To read about Boucher and her contention that Malloy’s support of the measure is rooted in the past drug problems of his son, Benjamin, click here.

Malloy is one of many, many Connecticut parents whose children have been caught using illegal drugs. Some of these parents surely feel that the punishment for making that mistake has been too severe.

They are not alone. For years, judges and prosecutors, citing case backlogs and overcrowded prisons, have privately criticized a system that would treat teen-agers and young adults caught smoking pot as hardened criminals.

Many parents have privately hoped for a change in the law. But others have sided with Boucher, fearing that any relaxation of drug laws will only lead to an increase in drug use among teen-agers, including their own.

What do you think? As a parent, do you support the state’s move to decriminalize marijuana? Or do you think it is a mistake that will result in placing more kids at risk? 

And as a member of the community, how do you feel about decriminalizing marijuana? Do you worry that your banker or lawyer or the guy driving that truck will now be smoking pot on the job?

Please use the comment box to let us know how you feel.

Mark June 08, 2011 at 02:37 PM
This is an important first step in stopping the madness it is about time, KUDOS to the state senate and house! Next stop is medical marijuana and then possibly within my lifetime the outright legalization of this completely harmless god send. We have receptors in our brains specifically for Cannibinoids AND opiates(the sap of the lovely and common even here in our state papaver somniferum/Poppy Plant)..but that's another fight for another day. One of the major arguments against marijuana is that it is a gateway drug.....well sorry but I beg to differ, The first drug I ever tried was SODA hello caffeine? The same caffeine many of us are addicted to as adults now..That led to trying dads cigarettes which led to alcohol which is usually the first hardcore drug available to any teen and far more deadly than the blood pressure inducing heart palpitations that high doses of starbucks or redbull will do. Marijuana helps keep my seizures in control I have not had one in 15 years until I stopped smoking pot under my wifes pressuring two months later I suffered a seizure at work...and a concussion from striking my head against a safe as I went down. The drugs that are available to me depekene and tegretol give me awful side effects which was why I stopped taking them then and will not now.
Tom Reiner June 08, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Let freedom ring, stop the oppression of otherwise law abiding citizens who do no harm to others, end the brutal totalitarian police tactics of the police force who terrorize peaceful marijuana consumers, support common sense and freedom by ending a failed drug war that will save us countless amounts of man hours in the justice department and money from the states coffers. Pot is less dangerous than alcohol...and anyone who thinks it should remain illegal is woefully ignorant of the actual effects of the plant.
Conservative Christian June 08, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own family members in jail over marijuana. Next step: How about $100 for a permit to grow a dozen plants? We can use the money for our schools, and it will put the drug gangs out of business for good! And a big THANK YOU to the courageous, freedom-loving legislators, governor, and countless others who worked so hard to bring this bill through! You've done a great service for the people of Connecticut and for all of America!
Kevin Sterling June 08, 2011 at 03:55 PM
If stiff criminal penalties for petty possession stopped people from getting high, how does Ms. Boucher explain the 1960s? In every State in the Union petty possession was punished by a stiff term of incarceration. On December 1, 1975, in Downey v Perini 518 F.2d 1288 (1975) the 6th Circuit ruled that it was "cruel or unusual for Ohio to sentence someone to a term of 30-60 years for having and selling cannabis." Downey v. Perini, 518 F.2d 1288, 1292 (6th Cir.), vacated and remanded, 44 U.S.L.W. 3330 (U.S. Dec. 2, 1975). Believers in stiff punishment for cannabis need to explain why the 1960s happened, if penalties like the above were actually a deterrent. http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/518/1288/281974/ quoted from link above: "This case concerns the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Petitioner was found guilty by a jury in the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio of violating Ohio Revised Code (ORC) § 3719.20(A), possession of marijuana for sale, and ORC § 3719.20(B), sale of marijuana. This was petitioner's first drug-related offense, and the amounts of marijuana involved were very small. Petitioner received indeterminate sentences which embodied the statutory minimum and maximum provided for each violation: 10 to 20 years imprisonment for possession for sale and 20 to 40 years for sale. It was ordered that the sentences run consecutively..."
Kevin Sterling June 08, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Yes, by 1975 the States had started reducing penalties for petty possession of cannabis, but before this conviction was vacated sentences like the 30 to 60 year sentence inflicted on Mr. Perini were standard issue. What the Know Nothing prohibitionists just don't get is that the severity of the punishment is irrelevant. What makes prohibition a proven failure in the past and guarantees that it will always be a failure in the future is that the certainty of punishment isn't there. I've been a cannabinoidian for 34 years. When should I expect my first arrest for cannabis possession? The fact of the matter is that I'm not unusual at all, at least for a person of my ethnic backgound. ------------------------------------- http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/whiteb1.htm quoted from link above: "in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Virginia was typical, the most heavily penalized crime in the Commonwealth was possession of marijuana, or any other drug. It led to a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years, no part of which you were eligible for parole or probation, and as to no part of it were you eligible for a suspended sentence. Just to show you where it was, in the same time period first degree murder in Virginia had a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years. Rape, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Possession of marijuana -- not to mention sales of marijuana with its mandatory minimum of forty years -- mandatory minimum of twenty years.
Kevin Sterling June 08, 2011 at 04:27 PM
The US has borrowed and squandered over a trillion with a T dollars prosecutin­g the failed war on (some) drugs since the "war on (some) drugs was declared back in the early 1970s by Tricky Dick Nixon. We've never had the money to pay back that borrowed trillion with a T dollars. We're still paying interest on that squandered money to the tune of $50 some billions per year. If we didn't throw another dollar into the rat hole of prohibitio­n it's going to cost us another trillion with a T dollars in less than 20 years. We're so broke that we're going to be paying interest on money borrowed decades ago. Even better, we have to borrow to pay the interest on that squandered money. That's called robbing Peter to pay Paul and is simply not the habit of anyone but deadbeats, except in some very rare instances. (e.g. borrowing to prosecute WW II)
Kevin Sterling June 08, 2011 at 04:35 PM
The Know Nothing prohibitio­nists have had their way with cannabis policy for almost 100 years. How many more decades of total, guaranteed failure must our society endure before the Know Nothings will finally admit that they've failed, and failed miserably? A century of failure isn't enough? In the 1930s authorities had the integrity to admit that the "noble" experiment was an utter failure of public policy and moved on to try to find something to work. Today people like Ms. Boucher simply do not have the integrity of character to admit the failure of the war on (some) drugs despite that failure being the 800 lb gorilla in the room. Insisting on backing a policy with almost 100 years of documented failure is the much worse thing for our society. It's time to try to find something that will actually work, because the insanity of absolute prohibition is simply tearing our society apart. It is Ms. Boucher who is the menace to our society, not Cheech & Chong. We absolutely need to tell Ms. Boucher and her ilk to pound sand. These people don't care about our society, regardless of their hysterical rhetoric claiming otherwise. The only thing these dastards are interested in is proving that they can force people to do their will. Wrong. We're not going anywhere. We're not going to quit enjoying cannabis. This item is not even on the table for discussion. There's almost a century of evidence supporting the assertion that it's a fool's errand to try to stop us.
Conservative Christian June 08, 2011 at 05:12 PM
It may well be true (in fact, probably is true) that legalization would result in somewhat more usage among youth. However, given that more than 40% of high school seniors have used marijuana at least once ( http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/marijuana/marijuana_ff.html ), we should look at the relative harm of somewhat more usage among youth, in comparison to the harm of putting our young people in prison, and make no mistake about it: There are people who want to put our kids in prison if they use marijuana. Prison is big business; locking kids up is big business; arresting kids is big business; prosecuting kids in court is big business; and charging parents a fortune for “rehab” and “voluntary diversion treatment” is big business. Don’t let anybody fool us: Keeping marijuana illegal is not about keeping our kids safe. It’s about arresting them, prosecuting them, locking them up, taking away their opportunity for college, and charging the parents a fortune to keep them from going to jail. It’s about people who want to put your child in a cage with the sexual predators and make you pay to get them out. It’s time to stop locking up our own families over marijuana. Anybody who says it should stay illegal wants to put your kid in jail. It’s time to stop them from locking up our kids.
Kevin Sterling June 08, 2011 at 05:17 PM
"Increased use" is meaningless without context. If people who are sitting at a bar drunk at this very moment decide that they prefer cannabis, that's at worst a wash from society's point of view. Why should anyone believe that the altar boys who are today singing in the church choir on Sunday are going to transmogrify into Jeff Spicoli?
Ellen Hillman June 08, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Legalize it and tax it to death the kids will use it less than they do now cause only the rich will be able to afford it. With the state of connecticut in such dire straits this could be the golden egg
William sherman June 08, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Where do you work, I would like to be able to smoke at the office, instead of standing out on the cold. I suppose if it is legal to use marijuana there will soon be a bill to add it to the "No Smoking" ban in resturants, bars and offices plus many other places. I hope not, because with all the "pot heads" supporting this I could just sit in my office and inhale the exhaled smoke, get a buzz on, and not have to pay the hefty tax that will be arriving soon on the legal joints.
Momma Bear June 08, 2011 at 10:08 PM
I agree with medical use, however I do believe that this bill will cause more harm than good.
Leon Moore June 09, 2011 at 04:36 AM
I started reading these comments with the idea that decriminalizing marijuana was the wrong thing to do. Now I understand that sense the "war on drugs" has been such a failure and a financial drain on our country we should just decriminalize all drugs. While we are at it, we can lift the resrictive speed limits on our roads and highways. How many people are pulled over each day for speeding? Much more than are arrested for pot I'll wager, that will really unclog the court systems. I agree that 20-40 years is harsh for a marijuana crime, but I don't want my children to think it is ok to smoke marijuana because all they will get is a slap on the wrist.
Robert E June 10, 2011 at 02:21 AM
We cant get people to stop killing each other either so we might as well decriminalize murder as well. Just because people wont follow the law doesn't mean we should get rid of the laws.

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