NORWALK - Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.) is considering decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana as part of his plan to save the state money. However, local law enforcement is against the idea, saying it sends the wrong message and downplays the effects of the mind-altering drug.

Malloy made the proposal during yesterday's budget address. Under his plan, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would be punishable by a $100 fine. Malloy stressed he is not advocating legalization, but wants to keep minor- and non-violent drug offenders out of jail and save the state money.

The proposal faces criticism from local authorities. Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling says he opposes any law that would make marijuana possession less serious, calling it unacceptable. Rilling says officers and the courts need the threat of jail time as a deterrent, and decriminalizing marijuana goes against all of the efforts made to turn people away from drugs.

A public hearing on the proposal is set for next month in Hartford.