This is weeks interview is with Ross Martowski, Executive Director of the NORML chapter at Central Connecticut State University. Here is a transcript of our conversation:
Q: What is the primary goal of your organization?
A: The primary goal of our organization is to change the public’s opinion toward cannabis and pursue reform in CT and nationwide.
Q: How many members do you have?
A: The number is constantly changing; keep in mind only recently have we become an official NORML chapter. We have a dedicated 10 members who show constant interest and support. There are so many more people who cannot work around scheduling or do not qualify to be a member. As long as our support and interest in the group continue to rise at this astounding rate, the amount of full-time members will continue to increase dramatically.
Q: What is the biggest issue facing your state today, in regards to cannabis?
A: Fill a board with all of the cannabis related issues and throw a dart. There is no cannabis reform in CT as of this moment, and all of the issues pose their own horrible consequences.
Q: What are you doing to tackle this issue?
A: Right now we are in the process of planning several events which cannot be disclosed yet.
In the near future CT can expect to see demonstrations at the capitol building and on campus, educational seminars, documentaries, guest speakers, and debates, anything that can be done to raise awareness of cannabis related issues, debunk all the myths and create responsible reform in CT.
Q: What would be the benefits of having marijuana legalized?
A: Some of the benefits would include:
1. An alternative renewable resource for fuel, plastics, paper, and textiles.
2. Decreased suffering for people with everything from Multiple sclerosis and Cancer, to Alzheimer’s and Sleep Apnea
3. Millions if not Billions of dollars saved in the legal system and state penitentiaries.
4. Millions if not Billions of dollars created from revenue of new businesses.
5. A massive decrease in crime.
6. Lowered use of cannabis in middle schools and high schools.
7. And most importantly…The freedom to smoke marijuana responsibly for pleasure or pain without fearing incarceration, loss of a job, having your child taken into custody, and/or getting kicked out of school or declined financial aid.
Q: What would the drawbacks be if marijuana were legalized?
A: The only fear that comes to mind is a lack of proper regulation. If marijuana is going to be legalized there has to be guidelines in place or a “wild west” of legalization will unfold. It should be allowed to be grown at home, readily available to the sick and suffering, and available to adults for relaxation and social smoking.
A license should be required to sell and distribute. This license should be treated as a liquor license and be revoked if marijuana is sold to children. Smoking should occur at proper locations (home, cafe, bars, etc.) DUI laws will need to be re-evaluated based off studies and trials. Heavy taxation should be in effect (as long as prices stay below black market prices). Some of these rules may seem extreme to some of the die-hard smokers, but without a system of regulation in place; there is a chance legalization would disappear before it even has a chance to flourish.
Q: If marijuana were legalized, how would that affect your organization?
A: I often ponder over this myself…
I would guess that following legalization, there will be a large amount of controversy and powerful lobbying groups working around the clock to reverse the changes. Most likely the fight will continue for years after we have won, we would just be holding ground instead of gaining it. If that is not the case, then I will enjoy a smoke with some friends, distribute the remaining funds and resources to other organizations that need the support and call it a day.
Q: Is there ANYTHING readers can do to help your organization?
A: On March 18th, the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University will host “Why Drugs Matter: The Impact of Drug Policy on Connecticut’s Economy”. The purpose of this forum is to promote discussion and understanding among policy makers and stakeholders regarding the cost and effectiveness of current and potential drug policy in Connecticut.
This is a non-partisan event. All Connecticut gubernatorial candidates have been invited to attend.
The event agenda is online here:
The Facebook page for the event is at:
Or, you can visit the IMRP’s Facebook page at:
If you live in CT or are a student at Central Connecticut State University try to attend this forum. NORML @ CCSU is not sponsoring this event, but we are working hard to spread the word and suggest everyone does the same.
Otherwise, Get in contact with us by joining the facebook page or shooting us a Email at NORMLCCSU@gmail.com
We will be calling on everyone’s support once public events are being held.