Pubdate: Thu, 8 Apr 1999
Source: Meriden Record-Journal, The (CT)
Copyright: 1999, The Record-Journal Publishing Co.
Address: 11 Crown Street, P.O. Box 915, Meriden, CT 06450
Fax: (203) 639-0210
Author: Mike Gogulski
Note: The note at the end was printed in the newspaper!



Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey spoke at the Aqua Turf Club in
Southington recently, and I question his statements about marijuana.

General McCaffrey said criminal penalties for drug use must continue,
and that America's most dangerous drug is marijuana. This, despite the
Institute of Medicine report his office commissioned, which found
marijuana not very harmful, not very addictive, and not a "gateway" to
harder drugs.

Attendees received the 1999 Statewide Interagency Substance Abuse Plan
by the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council (CADPC). A 1996
telephone survey quoted in it found 32% of Connecticut adults have
tried marijuana, and 3% have used marijuana in the past 30 days.

According to the statistics in this Plan, Connecticut is home to at
least 76,000 regular adult marijuana users and 812,000 adults who have
tried marijuana at some point in their lives. These numbers are
doubtless low, since the Drug War climate encourages respondents to be
less than truthful about their own "crimes."

I doubt that even most of those seventy-six thousand regular marijuana
smokers are bad people who should be convicted for marijuana posession
under current state law, much less desperate "pot addicts" in need of
forced treatment. Yet, according to the General Assembly's Office of
Legislative Research, Connecticut arrests over 8,000 citizens annually
for marijuana "crimes."

It's time the General Assembly follow the recommendations of the
Connecticut Law Revision Commission's 1997 report on drug policy, and
decriminalize posession of less than one ounce of marijuana by adults
over 21.

Maybe then we can tackle the real problems of addiction and drug
abuse, programs for which CADPC says are underfunded and


Editor's note: Mike Gogulski is a founding member of the Connecticut
Cannabis Policy Forum ( ), and Editor for the Media
Awareness Project of DrugSense ( )
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