To some degree, marijuana has been decriminalized in the State of Connecticut. Typically, decriminalizing cannabis means no criminal record or jail time for those convicted of first-time possession charges related to small amounts for personal use. This state treats these offenses as minor traffic violations.
Connecticut enacted state medical marijuana laws for patients with qualifying conditions. Program participants may possess a limited supply, which must be purchased from a state-licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
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Possessing Marijuana in Connecticut
Possessing Marijuana in Connecticut
For those not participating in Connecticut’s medical marijuana program, the following penalties apply for possessing cannabis for personal use:
• Under ½ ounce (first-time offenders) = Civil penalty: $150 fine
• Below ½ ounce (subsequent offenders) = Civil penalty: Fine between $200 to $500
• Over ½ ounce = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $2,000 and up to 1 year prison time
• Any amount within 1,500 feet of a daycare center or school = Imprisonment, probation and community service terms to be determined by presiding judge
Subsequent offenses for possessing more than ½ ounce of pot come with the following penalties:
• Second offense = May receive suspended sentence and mandatory drug abuse treatment program
• Subsequent offense = May be convicted of possession of a controlled substance
Medical Marijuana Patient Possession Limits
Connecticut has enacted its own version of the medical marijuana program. Under related laws, medical cannabis patients may possess a one-month supply of marijuana at any given time.
Selling Marijuana in Connecticut
In the State of Connecticut, selling marijuana is the same thing as distribution and cultivation. All related charges are felonies and fall under the category of possession with intent to distribute or cultivate cannabis. Related offenses are punished as follows:
• Below 1 kilogram (first-time offenders) = Fine up to $25,000 and up to 7 years’ incarceration
• Below 1 kilogram (subsequent offenders) = Fine up to $100,000 and up to 15 years’ imprisonment
• More than 1 kilogram (first-time offenders) = Fine up to $25,000 and mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, to up to 20 years’ incarceration
• More than 1 kilogram (subsequent offenders) = Fine up to $100,000 and mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, to up to 25 years’ incarceration
• Any amount within 1,500 feet of a public housing project, daycare center, elementary school or middle school = Additional 3 years of prison time added to any other sentences
• Adults distributing any amount to a minor under 18 = Additional 2 years of prison time stacked on top of other sentences (unless age difference between seller and buyer is under 2 years)
Growing Marijuana in Connecticut
Home cultivation of marijuana is not allowed in Connecticut. Growing any amount is a felony with anywhere from 5 to 15 years for small grows. See Selling Marijuana in Connecticut section above for penalties and other details.
Using Marijuana in Connecticut
Cannabis has not been legalized in the State of Connecticut. However, it has been decriminalized. Therefore, although penalties are not as harsh as in the past, using cannabis is still illegal in this state unless the user is in the Connecticut medical marijuana program.
Patients must have qualifying conditions allowed by the state. The following are the debilitating, chronic qualifying conditions on the state’s list:
• Chronic nervous system disorders
• Persistent Muscle Spasms
• Chronic pain
Hashish & Concentrates
In Connecticut, cannabis-type substances, such as hashish and concentrates, are treated just like the marijuana plant when it comes to laws. The penalties for infractions related to cannabis concentrates and hash are the same as those related to the actual marijuana plant.
There are various drug paraphernalia laws in the State of Connecticut. They come with penalties as follows:
• Possession with intent to use, distribute or cultivate over ½ ounce of cannabis = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $500 and up to 3 months in jail
• Possession with intent to distribute or distribution = Misdemeanor: Fine up to $2,000 and up to 1 year prison time
• Distribution or possession with intent to use or manufacture under ½ ounce of cannabis = Civil infraction: Fine between $100 to $300
Breaking the Marijuana Laws in Connecticut
Any item used to distribute or cultivate cannabis can be confiscated by law enforcement, including aircraft or vehicles used to transport it. These possessions become the property of the state.
Mandatory Minimum Sentence
Connecticut courts abide by mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug-related offenses. This means that a presiding judge may not reduce a sentence to anything lower than the minimum amount of prison years required by the statute. Some exceptions may be made if the offender is mentally impaired or under the age of 18.
Tax Stamp Law
The State of Connecticut has enacted a marijuana state tax stamp law. It requires anyone in possession of cannabis to buy and affix a state-issued tax stamp onto the contraband. In this state, failure to abide by this rule will resort in civil charges of 200% of the original tax rate, which is $3.50 per gram for those possessing more than 42 ½ grams of marijuana in Connecticut.