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Hartford DUI defense attorney marijuana impairmentThe United States has a long and complicated history with cannabis. Back in colonial times, hemp -- which is a non-intoxicating strain of the cannabis plant -- was a very important crop for early settlers. Virginia even passed a law in 1619 requiring every farm in the colony to grow hemp. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and effectively banned the sale and use of marijuana, though the act was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s.

Now that 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, the prevalence of marijuana-related DUI is of concern to lawmakers across the country. In the state of Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not legal -- yet.

Current Connecticut Marijuana DUI Laws

Like most states, Connecticut’s laws concerning DUI mostly refer to alcohol, but they do mention drugs as well. According to Connecticut law, operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating drug is illegal. Penalties for a drug DUI can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. For a basic DUI charge of operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, a conviction can get you up to a six-month jail sentence, $500 to $1,000 in fines, and a 45-day driver’s license suspension, with the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed in the driver’s vehicle for one year after the conviction.

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Connecticut marijuana convictions, Hartford drug crimes attorneyMore than 30 marijuana possession convictions have been erased by Connecticut Superior Court judges in just a few months. While the number may seem relatively low compared to the thousands of marijuana-related arrests in the last several years, the rate of approval continues to be very high. Judicial branch records indicate that only 39 petitions had been processed through May 2015 to erase marijuana possession convictions, with more than 80 percent (a total of 32 cases) having been approved.

Decriminalization of Minor Possession

Earlier this year, the Connecticut Supreme Court was faced with a decision regarding the definition of decriminalization as it pertains to erasing a conviction. Under Connecticut law, a person who has been convicted of an offense that is later “decriminalized” may petition the court to have the conviction erased and all records of the case physically destroyed.

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