Beginning Tuesday, when an adult 21 years-old or older crosses the state line into Massachusetts, he or she can legally purchase recreational marijuana, but there will be repercussions for bringing it back to Connecticut.
"Just because something is legalized in Massachusetts doesn’t mean that it’s legalized in Connecticut," says Enfield police chief Alaric Fox. "The possession of something in Connecticut that remains illegal in Connecticut is, in fact, an offense."
Enfield police, who neighbor the state line, are giving this clear message to all residents, visitors, and drivers of the state. What’s not clear is if drivers will listen to this warning, sneaking it over.
“It probably will come across the state line,” says Valarie Dumais of East Windsor, who worries about impaired driving while under the influence. “I think [police are] going to have to come up with some plan because if it’s going to be legal in Massachusetts, not in Connecticut, they’re going to have to come up with something to track that.”
Chief Fox says there’s no specialized enforcement or check points starting Tuesday, but the department expects to utilize their Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) even more. A Drug Recognition Expert undergoes extensive training to be able to evaluate if someone is high. The Enfield Police Department has one DRE. All officers, however, are trained to recognize behaviors of driving under the influence.
While there is no breathalyzer to measure marijuana intake, Chief Fox says there’s other options. "In those cases, we would switch to a different test after arrest,” says Fox. “For example, urine as opposed to a breath test, which detects the presence of narcotics in an individual’s body."
Connecticut law has decriminalized marijuana. Possessing a small amount results in a fine. The more marijuana a person possesses, the bigger the fine, and it’s coupled with jail time.