Connecticut Police Captain Calls for Legal Cannabis Access After Fentanyl Overdoses

Plymouth, Connecticut Police Capt. Ed Benecchi called for opening adult-use cannabis dispensaries “as soon as possible” in the name of public safety after at least 39 overdoses in the state were linked to fentanyl-laced cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

A Connecticut police captain is calling for adult-use cannabis dispensaries to be opened “as soon as possible” as at least 39 overdoses in the state have been linked to fentanyl-laced cannabis, CT News Junkie reports. Plymouth Police Capt. Ed Benecchi said the opening of adult-use dispensaries would help “protect the public.”

“Our biggest fear is that this is going to become a trend,” he said, adding that while his department has heard about other cases related to fentanyl-laced cannabis it was “shocking” to get a sample of the adulterated substance.

The overdoses have prompted a warning from the Connecticut Overdose Response Strategy Team, “strongly” urging public health, harm reduction, and others working with clients who use cannabis “to educate them about the possible dangers of marijuana with fentanyl.”

Judiciary Committee Co-Chair Sen. Gary Winfield (D) told News Junkie that he didn’t see how the opening of dispensaries could happen before the end of 2022. In September, Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull admitted that the rollout of legal sales in the state would likely be delayed.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as let’s open up the dispensaries. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done and we need to be doing it in the right way. We wouldn’t be looking at three weeks after the session starts next year being able to get this done.” Winfield to News Junkie

A spokesperson for Gov. Ned Lamont (D) told News Junkie that the “concerns of the Plymouth Police reinforce [his] reasoning” for supporting and enacting the cannabis reforms.

“It is his priority to ensure that its implementation, which is already on an aggressive schedule, is accomplished with a safe, responsible, and equitable process in place and is not rushed in a way that causes unintended consequences,” the spokesperson said.

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, more than 80% of overdose deaths in Connecticut involved fentanyl, according to state Department of Public Health statistics.

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