HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut legalized the use of recreational marijuana this week. Starting July 1, anyone 21-years-old and older will be allowed to possess and consume marijuana. A component of the new law also focuses on giving police officers training to help them more quickly spot those driving under the influence.
Hartford Police said it’s something they actively look out for.
“I think, right now, we’re around 25% – roughly – of our OUI [Operating Under the Influence] arrests are for drugged driving,” said Sgt. Daniel Zarebski of Hartford Police Department’s Traffic Division. “It’s something we’ve been working on.”
Sgt. Zarebski explained there are many ways to spot and test for impaired driving.
“OUI is a totality of circumstances. There are a lot of other things to it than just testing. It’s the initial observations of the driving. There’s operation admission. There are things we see in the vehicle, things we can smell.”
Police departments within communities on the state line told News 8 this is something they’ve been on high alert for, especially after Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana a few years ago.
Suffield Police Chief Richard Brown said this additional training is necessary to better keep everyone safe.
“We hope funding is released sooner than later, so we can get on track to address the issues and concerns,” explained Chief Brown.
Chief Brown reiterated it’s illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence and you can’t smoke while driving. Marijuana is also prohibited where smoking isn’t allowed. Those places include public buildings, most workplaces and stores, and state parks.