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Connecticut Marijuana Law

Penalty Details

Possession for Personal Use

Possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana by a first time offender carries a civil penalty of $150.

Possession of less than one-half ounce for subsequent offenses carries a penalty of a civil fine between $200 and $500.

Possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana can be punished with a prison term not to exceed one years and a fine not to exceed $2000.

For a second offense, the court must make an evaluation and if the court  decides the person is drug dependent may suspend prosecution and order the person to complete a drug abuse treatment program.

For a subsequent offense, the court may sentence the person as a persistent offender for possession of a controlled substance under 53a-40.

Possession within 1,500 feet of a school or daycare center will receive a term of imprisonment and term of probation with a community service requirement.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-279a
  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-279

Distribution or Cultivation

Distribution or cultivation includes possession with intent to distribute or cultivate marijuana.

For first offenders distribution or cultivation of less than 1 kilogram of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to 7 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to 15 years of imprisonment.

The court may prescribe an alternative sentence of up to 3 years imprisonment. The offender may then be released at any time during those 3 years and placed on probation for the remainder of their term.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-277(b)
  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-277(d)

For first offenders distribution or cultivation of 1 kilogram or more of marijuana is punishable by 5-20 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up 10-25 years of imprisonment. The court cannot reduce a sentence below the minimum years of prison time required by the statute, this means that first offenders face a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and subsequent offenders a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. The court may make exceptions to these mandatory minimum sentences if the defendant is under 18 or is/was mentally impaired.

For non-violent first offenders, the court may depart from the mandatory minimum sentence if a particular reason is stated.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-283(a)
  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-278(b)

Distribution or cultivation of marijuana within 1,500 feet of an elementary/middle school, public housing project, or daycare center is punishable by an additional 3 years imprisonment on top of any other sentence imposed.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-278a

Distribution of marijuana by a person 18 years or older to a person under 18 is punishable by an additional 2 years imprisonment, on top of any other sentence imposed. There is an exception to this rule if the distributor is less than 2 years older than the minor.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-278a

Using a person under 18 years of age to assist in the sale of marijuana is punishable by 3 years imprisonment, on top of any other sentence already imposed.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-278a

Hash & Concentrates

The Connecticut statute uses the terms “Marijuana” and “Cannabis-type substance” to refer to plant Cannabis or any substance made from or with Cannabis, including hashish or concentrates. The terms are given the exact same definition in the statute. The term “Marijuana” is used to distinguish “Marijuana” from other hallucinogenic substances, whereas the term “Cannabis-type substance” is used to define penalties for possession of said substances. The penalties for all infractions involving hashish or marijuana concentrates are therefore the same as the penalties for all infractions involving plant marijuana.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. §21a-240(7), (29)

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia with the intent to use it to cultivate, distribute or inhale/ingest more than one-half ounce of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $500.

Distributing paraphernalia or possessing it with the intent to distribute it is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a $2,000 civil fine. In order to be guilty of this crime the defendant must know or should have known that the item would be used to cultivate, distribute, or inhale/ingest more than one-half ounce of marijuana.

Paraphernalia possession or distribution intended to manufacture or ingest less than one-half ounce of marijuana is a civil infraction, which will result in a fine of between $100-$300 (including administrative costs).

Distributing or possessing paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of an elementary/middle school is punishable by an additional 1 year of imprisonment.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. 21a-267
  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. 53a-42

Forfeiture

Any item used for the cultivation or distribution of marijuana is subject to forfeiture. This includes vehicles or aircraft that are used to transport marijuana for the purpose of distributing it.

See

  • Connecticut Gen. Stat. 21a-246
Decriminalization

The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Tax Stamps

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML’s report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.

Connecticut Drugged Driving

In Connecticut, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-227a(a) (West 2010).

Implied Consent

  • Any person who operates a motor vehicle in Connecticut shall be deemed to have given such person’s consent to all requested chemical analysis of their blood, breath, and urine. Id. § 14-227b. However, this shall not apply to any person whose physical condition is such that, according to competent medical advice, such test would be unadvisable. Id.
  • The officer is to provide the driver with a reasonable opportunity to telephone an attorney prior to the performance of the test. The test to be preformed will be at the discretion of the officer. Id. § 14-227b(b).
  • If the person refuses the officer will immediately revoke and take possession of the driver’s license. Id. § 14-227b(c). A hearing to appeal the suspension may be requested. Id. § 14-227b(m).
  • Evidence of refusal shall be admissible in any criminal prosecution the court shall instruct the jury as to any inference that may or may not be drawn from the defendant’s refusal to submit to a blood, breath or urine test. Id. § 14-227a(e).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of not less than five hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars; imprisonment for not more than six months; forty-eight consecutive hours mandatory minimum sentence or one hundred hours of community service; operating privilege suspended for one year. Id. §§ 14-227(g)-(l).
  • Second offense (w/i 10 years) –fine of not less than one thousand dollars or more than four thousand dollars; imprisonment for not more than two years (one hundred twenty consecutive days of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner); one hundred hours of community service; operating privilege suspended for three years or until the date of such person’s twenty-first birthday, whichever is longer. Id.
  • Third and subsequent offense (w/i 10 years) fine of not less than two thousand dollars or more than eight thousand dollars; imprisonment of not more than three years (one year of which may not be suspended or reduced); one hundred hours of community service; operating privilege permanently revoked. Id.

Sobriety Checkpoints

Connecticut allows law enforcement officials to conduct roadblocks under an interpretation of the state Constitution. The state’s interpretation affords more protections than the federal constitution.

  • State v. Mikolinski, 775 A.2d 274 (2001) — Sobriety checkpoints which are operated neutrally are permissible under Connecticut state constitution prohibiting unreasonable searches or seizures because the state has significant interest in preventing impaired driving. Any intrusion on individual’s privacy must be minimal and be weighed against the state’s interests which the checkpoints seek to protect.

Case Law

State v. Weisenberg, 830 A.2d 795(2003) – Prosecution does not have to prove the quantity of drugs in the defendant’s blood in order to convict a defendant for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

State v. Dalzell, 901 A.2d 706 (2006) — A driver operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug is one whose mental, physical or nervous processes have become so affected that he loses, to some degree, the ability to control and operate a motor vehicle.

Connecticut Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2014
Summary: House Bill 5476 calls on the three state agencies, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Consumer Protection, and the Department of Economic and Community Development to evaluate the feasibility of legalizing the possession, production, and sale of industrial hemp “for the purpose of encouraging economic development and increasing the number of new businesses in this state.” Regulators must make recommendations to the General Assembly in regard to “establishing a licensing system for industrial hemp growers and sellers” by no later than January 1, 2015.

Separate legislation enacted in 2015, HB 5780 excludes hemp stalks, fiber, and seeds from the definition of marijuana.

Connecticut Medical Marijuana Law

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-surgical back pain with a condition called chronic radiculopathy
  • Post laminectomy syndrome
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
  • Other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

One-month supply

HOME CULTIVATION

No

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES

Yes

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Yes

CAREGIVERS

Yes, a qualifying patient shall have not more than one primary caregiver at any time.

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

No

CONTACT INFORMATION

Additional information for Connecticut patients and physicians regarding Public Act 12-55, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana is available online from the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Connecticut Tax Stamps

Stamp
State Code § 12-651
Tax Rate $3.50/gram if owner possesses 42.5 grams or more
Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) 200% of tax and up to $10k or 6 yrs prison or both
Additional Information
For more information, visit: http://www.ct.gov/drs/lib/drs/publications/pubsip/1999/ip99(20.1).pdf

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