Vote on marijuana legalization may be the easiest part of creating new industry

News 8 Investigators

The clock is ticking toward the end of the legislative session in Hartford.

Still on the agenda? The vote on legalizing recreational marijuana.

Advocates say it could create thousands of jobs and bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the state in the first few years. 

The News 8 Investigators traveled over the border to Massachusetts to find out what would go into creating the new industry if the legislature approves it. 

From license applications to changing zoning laws to regulating and enforcing it, potential pot business-owners say the task of creating a new industry could be a trying, time consuming experience. 

One of those businessmen is Dave Caputo. 

He applied to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission this week for a cultivating and a manufacturing license. 

The founder of Poistronic Farms wants to grow marijuana is an old, vacant paper mill that sits along the Connecticut River in Holyoke, MA. 

He brings us through the process of applying for the license, starting with getting the backing and support of his local city government. 

The News 8 Investigators also spoke with Northampton attorney Richard Evans. 

For 40 years, Evans has advocated for legalizing marijuana. He says he was sick of seeing his clients go to jail for smoking pot.

As the chairman of the “Yes on 4” campaign during the 2016 referendum vote and member of the drafting committee created to set up the rules and regulations, he has some advice for Connecticut lawmakers and any other states that are considering legalizing recreational weed. 

He says Massachusetts went over board with its regulations, comparing them to the same rules regulating plutonium. 

He believes every state will eventually end the prohibition on recreational weed because there is so much money and so many jobs at stake. 

Enforcing the issue is creating headaches for law enforcement. 

Enfield Police Chief Alaric Fox says his department on the Massachusetts border is prepared to enforce marijuana laws like any other infraction. 

He tells the News 8 Investigators that one of the biggest challenges is there is no scientific test that can decipher when someone smoked or how impaired they may be during a traffic stop.

Marijuana can staty in your system for weeks after smoking.

He says his police officers will need to depend on sight, smell and special training to recognize of someone is driving while impaired on marijuana. 

These are just some of the challenges that Connecticut lawmakers are grappling with as they wrestle with the decision of creating a new legal industry here in the state. 

If Connecticut goes with the similar model used in Massachusetts, the final say as to whether or not recreational marijuana businesses will be allowed in your town will be up to your local government. 
Several towns along the Massachusetts border, including Longmeadow and Springfield, have moratoriums on pot businesses from opening with its limits when it becomes legal in July. 

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