EAST HARTFORD — A grass-roots group dedicated to stopping the legalization of marijuana in the state sees the Vermont legislature's recent rejection of a legalization bill as a major victory.
"Vermont was a slam dunk for the legalizers," Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of the advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told about 100 people who visited Goodwin College for a kickoff event for #StopPotCT. "It happened because of people like this here today, came together and said, 'We're going to get together and stop this.'"
Sabet, who worked on drug policy for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was named by Rolling Stone as the No. 1 enemy of the legalization movement. During an hour and 15 minute address, he said the retail marijuana industry was backed by deep-pocketed special interests and executives with Ivy League MBAs.
"It's not Cheech and Chong anymore," Sabet said.
A marijuana legalization bill was introduced in the General Assembly this session but wasn't scheduled for a public hearing. Jill Spineti, president and CEO of the Governor's Prevention Partnership, said the group expects the perennial bill to be back. And she thinks lawmakers are going to listen carefully as proponents make a fiscal argument.