Legal weed billboard creating a buzz on I-91

January 22, 2019

NEW HAVEN - A new billboard put up by the app company Weedmaps on Interstate 91 is announcing that “weed is legal 60 miles away.”

The message is likely referring to the recent opening of the New England Treatment Access adult-use cannabis sales store in North Hampton, Mass. - about an hour’s drive from the New Haven area.

Marijuana can be purchased there for recreational and medical use, in accordance with Massachusetts state law.

Weedmaps provides users with locations of doctors and dispensaries that prescribe or sell medical marijuana and promotes cannabis use through billboards in states where it’s legal.

The outfit has taken heat for billboards posted in Arizona encouraging marijuana use and referring to Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana us is legal, according to the Phoenix New Times.

Police in Torrington have already cautioned residents that heading to a newly opened retail marijuana store in Great Barrington, just 13 miles from the Connecticut border, is probably not a good idea.

The dispensary is just 35 miles from the city, said Torrington Police Chief William Baldwin who is worried about area residents who head over the border to buy pot.

They could “smoke it where it’s legal and be under the influence when they come back (to Connecticut,” he said. “It could cause accidents.”

“It will come through our state and through our communities,” Baldwin said.

Winchester Police Sgt. Kevin Kinahan said no special patrols have been planned in this first week of the retail store opening in Great Barrington but “If they decide to transport marijuana (into the state) and they get caught, we will cite them.”

However, Kinahan noted, “We can’t do a road block or checkpoints,” for cars coming into the state.

“That would create a legal problem if we stopped cars heading from Massachusetts to Connecticut,” he said.

“We can’t legally track people,” Kinahan said. “We will be diligent in enforcing marijuana laws.”

The Connecticut State Police also said troopers would enforce the laws “the same way we always have.”

Department spokesman Trooper Josue J. Dorelus said in a statement that “officers have to be aware of the changes in laws taking place in surrounding states so that we may better anticipate how these changes may affect our own state.”

Leslie Hutchison and Jim Shay contributed to this story.

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