ANSWER DESK: How will police CT deal with drivers under the influence of marijuana if the bill passes | New




HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – As lawmakers continue to debate the legalization of recreational marijuana, many wonder how Connecticut will police under the influence drivers.

Democrats say there could be a vote on legalizing recreational marijuana at a special session next week.

If that passes, Connecticut has the advantage of seeing what other states are doing on this issue.

“We are going to pass a bill next week,” said Democratic state representative Steven Stafstrom.

However, there are people who wonder how it will be applied.

“Cannabis is on our streets, it is on our borders in the surrounding cities,” Stafstrom said.

Stafstrom co-chairs the legislature’s judicial committee.

He said Connecticut needs to think about this issue whether or not recreational pot is legal. He adds that the bill includes increasing the number of drug detection experts in the state.

“You don’t always need to have a test to back up what you see,” said Ryan Walsh, public information officer at Springfield.

Massachusetts is also enlisting certified experts on how to use a 12-point test to determine if someone is currently high with marijuana.

Springfield Police have just retired their officer, but all officers are trained to look for signs of drug use.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen with the drivers, and at least we can say that not much has changed so far,” said Walsh.

Springfield police have also not seen an increase in arrests for marijuana-related conduct since Massachusetts authorized retail in 2018.

However, CBS4 in Denver reported earlier this year that 2020 marijuana-related driving arrests were up 48% from the previous year.

There is currently no test that can detect when someone is under the influence of marijuana, but Stafstrom says the legislature is monitoring the development of the technology.

“As they become more reliable, this could be something the legislature will consider,” Stafstrom said.

If recreational marijuana passes, Stafstrom also said he expects the legislature will have to review its retail rules every year to see if things work.

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