Senator Boucher: Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Bills Represent ‘Get Out Of Jail Free Tickets’ Which Jeopardize Public Safety

March 14, 2011
Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Ronni McGlaughlin(Wilton Mother), Dr. David Evans (Drug Free Schools Coalition) talking with reporters at a press conference in Hartford

Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), Ronni McGlaughlin(Wilton Mother), Dr. David Evans (Drug Free Schools Coalition) talking with reporters at a press conference in Hartford

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) joined by concerned citizens spoke out against several proposals before the General Assembly to decriminalize marijuana and allow medical marijuana in our state.

Senator Toni Boucher, “We must not give Connecticut a ‘soft on crime’ reputation where it becomes easy to obtain a get out of jail free ticket.”

Wilton mom, Ronni McLaughlin has been a strong believer that taking away the teeth from legislation sends the wrong message to our youth.

“If lawmakers approve this marijuana legislation it will be a grave mistake,” said Ronni McLaughlin. “I’ve seen first hand the damage this gateway drug has on individuals and families.”

McLaughlin lost her son Dan to a drug overdose back in 2004; he was only 20 years old.

“Marijuana is a harmful, Schedule I, federally illegal drug that does not save or improve lives,” said Senator Toni Boucher. “It can undermine the seriously ill’s best prospect of recovery and is the wrong prescription for Connecticut.”

In Connecticut alone, Yale University and the University of Connecticut Medical Societies have determined that smoked marijuana causes damages to the brain, heart, immune system, and lungs, as well as impairing learning and memory, and perception and judgment. A marijuana cigarette is four times as potent as one tobacco cigarette producing tumors, respiratory and heart ailments. There is now conclusive evidence that smoking marijuana gives you greater exposure to cancerous chemicals than from tobacco.

According to A Drug Free America, gram for gram, marijuana contains more cancer causing agents and higher levels of ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and nitric oxide than tobacco.

Studies have also linked pot to the loss of motor skills, increase heart rate, and impairing the ability of the body’s T-Cells to fight off infections. The drug treatment centers of Connecticut site that 60% of their admissions are now for marijuana addiction.

If proposals to decriminalize marijuana are passed, possessing a small amount of pot, less than one ounce would be punishable with a fine of up to $90, instead of a criminal charge.

According to a Drug Free America, an ounce of pot equals 60 to 120 joints.

Lisa Berthiaume chair of the Connecticut Elks Drug Awareness Program says, “Decriminalizing up to an ounce of marijuana will make it easier for street corner drug dealers to do business. An insignificant civil fine will just be the cost of doing business…they will learn to carry smaller amounts on them before returning home to stock up and head back out to the streets to continue.”

If proposals allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana pass, an eligible person would be allowed to grow four pot plants in their home, as long as they are no more than four feet.

Experts say one pot plant can produce up to 80 ounces of marijuana, which could equal as much as 9,600 joints. Is this trafficking or medicine?

And finally, under the current proposals the drug free zone’s around schools, and day care centers would be moved from 1,500 feet to 200 feet allowing dealers to do business right in front of our children’s eyes.

“I am tremendously grateful and proud that we have fought repeated attempts in the past to take our state down this dangerous path and have not broken a trust with our constituents of doing no harm,” said Senator Toni Boucher. “Let’s all work to continue to keep our children and neighborhoods safe.”