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Conn. Candidates Spar on Marijuana Use, Legalization

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In Connecticut, Republican candidates for Congress are slinging accusations of hypocrisy over marijuana use and policy, including the spectacle of a candidate who favors legalization defending a YouTube video focused on his opponent's arrest a decade earlier for marijuana possession.

The Stamford Advocate reported July 17 that a video parody on candidate Rob Merkle featured drug-related images as well as photos of his father, a former prosecutor known for his tough-on-drugs stance. Merkle called his arrest in Florida for minor drug possession a mistake and said he does not still use marijuana.

Merkle accused the campaign of candidate Rick Torres of being behind the video. Torres denied being involved but called Merkle a hypocrite for attacking his stance in favor of legalization. Merkle said he favors “enforcing our drug laws,” but Torres said that too many people are in jail for marijuana possession and that more alternative-to-prison programs — like the one Merkle attended in Florida — are needed.

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