In a follow-up to the state’s recent cannabis legalization policy, Connecticut’s chief state attorney’s office has dropped 1,562 possession charges as state lawmakers draft legislation to halt cannabis-specific prosecutions moving forward.
Connecticut’s chief state attorney’s office has dropped 1,562 cannabis possession charges following a review of more than 4,000 pending cases, CT Insider reports. The review and dismissal of cases came as state lawmakers are drafting a bill to order the state Division of Criminal Justice to stop prosecuting cannabis-only cases. The proposal is part of the follow-up to the full legalization of cannabis in Connecticut.
Another 624 cases reviewed by Chief State’s Attorney Patrick J. Griffin’s prosecutors will be modified to drop cannabis from the overall charges.
“It has been the shared position of this committee and the division that persons charged with a possession of a cannabis-type substance offense that has subsequently been decriminalized should not be prosecuted for that offense. Thus, identifying these cannabis cases could not be accomplished merely by conducting a computerized review of pending cases. The 4,248 cases statewide including 2,139 pending and 2,109 in re-arrest status. This was no small task and quite labor intensive.” — Griffin in a letter to the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee via CT Insider
In an interview with CT Insider, State Rep. Greg Howard (R), who is also a police officer, called the review “remarkable.”
“…When the chief state’s attorney testified, he assured us that while the statute doesn’t specifically say that it was retroactive to pending cases, he understands the legislative intent,” Howard said, “he accepts that, and he has made that clear to all of his state’s attorneys and obviously they have been hard at work about that.”
The bill ordering the criminal justice division to stop prosecuting cannabis cases last week passed the committee 27-10 along party lines. It moves next to the full chamber for consideration.
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