Stamford officials want to limit marijuana use, but state law may have it covered

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 Some Stamford representatives want to prevent people from smoking marijuana in certain parts of the city, including on school property, but it’s unclear if they have to do anything to make such activity illegal.

On page 134 of the 300-page bill, a section explicitly states that smoking cannabis, tobacco or hemp is prohibited in a school building or on school grounds. The bill went into effect Oct. 1.Furthermore, another section states that any person with more than the allowable 1.5 ounces who is within 1,500 feet of a school shall be imprisoned for a year.

Nonetheless, two members of the Board of Representatives — Republican J.R. McMullen and Democrat Jeff Stella — recently introduced an ordinance that would officially make restrictions on marijuana usage mirror the ones in place for tobacco consumption.

“All you have to do is go downtown and you can smell it all over the place,” he said, about marijuana. “Right now, we don’t have regulations that would prevent somebody from walking onto school property and smoking a joint, but we do have regulations that would stop somebody from smoking tobacco.”

Nonetheless, the state law would supersede any local ordinance, and the marijuana bill signed by Lamont does seemingly set restrictions on marijuana consumption in and around schools.

The discussion on the proposed marijuana ordinance at the steering committee meeting was less about the content of the proposal, and more about the timing.

Five of the 13 members present felt it was inappropriate to introduce the proposal now, and have it be discussed at the next Public Safety and Health Committee, with a municipal election next month, and a new session beginning after.

“This is a complicated topic and it is highly unlikely to get the depth of comment and consideration that it warrants in a time frame of an ordinance for publication and final adoption on the last month of our board, and approval on the last meeting of our board,” said Rep. David Watkins, a Republican.

Stella argued that a more robust conversation on the topic can happen in the future, but that the ordinance he co-sponsored would just be “plugging a hole.”

The motion to place the item on the agenda for the Public Safety and Health Committee meeting later this month was approved by a vote of 8-5.

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