AAA warns against stoned drivers if Conn. legalizes marijuana

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Several bills are being drafted by lawmakers in Hartford that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and that’s causing safety concerns for some.

“There are lives at risk, that’s really what this comes down to,” said Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA.

AAA is urging lawmakers in Hartford to consider the potential risks to the public, of motorists who drive under the influence.

“After Washington state legalized marijuana, the number of fatal crashes that involved drivers using marijuana doubled,” Parmenter said.

Related Content: Several marijuana legalization bills coming at State Capitol

AAA also cites concerns over how police will test drivers for marijuana use, since it cannot be proven by a standard, roadside breathalyzer test used to detect alcohol impairment.

“We will continue to do what we’ve always done and keep our eye out for people who are under violation of the law,” said Trooper Kelly Grant, Connecticut State Police.

State Police hasn’t yet taken a public position on the legalization debate, but Trooper Grant said if it comes, troopers have been trained for years on how to look for indicators to detect if people are under the influence.

“They are looking for indicators,” Trooper Grant said. “It’s in speech, it’s in somebody’s eyes, it’s in the way they’re acting. In the way they’re operating their vehicle.”

Massachusetts and Maine are two New England states that just voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. The draw of a new revenue source has convinced many Connecticut lawmakers to push for legalization also.

“Understandable that lawmakers want to take advantage of possible revenue from sales of marijuana,” Parment said. “But Connecticut will pay a steep price.”

Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven), has filed a bill to legalize and tax recreational use of marijuana. As of now, there’s no date set on when it will it come up for debate in the Joint Committee on Judiciary.

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