Sunday, March 13, 2011

Former Police Chief Testifies for Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana in Connecticut (Press Release)

Judiciary Committee Will Also Consider Bills for Medical Marijuana

HARTFORD, CT -- A former chief of police will testify before a Connecticut House of Delegates committee today in favor of bills that would decriminalize marijuana possession. The bills, Raised Bill No. 953 and Governor's Bill No. 1014, will be heard by the Joint Committee on Judiciary at 10:00 AM EST in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building.

John Lorenzo, a former chief of marine police with the Lake Lillinonah Authority, will be testifying in support of the bills. "The current law forces police officers in Connecticut to waste hour after hour chasing marijuana users, arresting them and processing their cases," he said. "If we decriminalized marijuana in this state, police could solve more burglaries, rapes and murders, and it would free up jail space and save the dollars wasted on keeping otherwise ordinary citizens incarcerated. Marijuana prohibition does nothing to protect public safety; it only threatens it."

Lorenzo is a speaker for the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an international group of police officers, judges, corrections officials, border agents and other criminal justice professionals who have witnessed the failures of the so-called "war on drugs" firsthand.

In addition to the bills decriminalizing possession of marijuana, the committee will also hear bills to legalize the medical use of marijuana for people whose doctors say it can help them. In passing those bills, Raised Bill No. 6566 and Governor's Bill No. 1015, Connecticut would join 15 other states and the District of Columbia in protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week shows that Connecticut voters support decriminalizing marijuana by a 65-32 margin, and they favor medical marijuana 79-17. Both proposals have majority support across political parties and among all age groups.

Connecticut spends over $130 million enforcing its marijuana prohibition laws every year, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.

The full text of the bills being heard today and other information can be found at

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at

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CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or

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