What Are the Laws Surrounding Marijuana Use in Connecticut?

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Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer for marijuana possession and DUIThe marijuana laws in the United States seem to be in constant flux. Some states have legalized this drug for medicinal and/or recreational use, while in others, it remains illegal to use, possess, or distribute, and doing so can lead to drug charges. Connecticut residents may be unsure about the state’s marijuana laws, especially since the laws have also changed recently in some nearby states. 

Massachusetts legalized marijuana in 2016, New Jersey voted to legalize the drug in 2020, and it is rumored that New York and Rhode Island are soon to follow. Connecticut’s Governor, Ned Lamont, has stated that marijuana legalization may be on the state’s legislative agenda for 2021, and the taxes generated from legal sales of the drug may help make up the state’s budget deficit. However, until new laws are passed and go into effect, it is important for Connecticut residents to understand how the state’s laws address marijuana.

Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Use

Currently, the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Connecticut. However, the state has decriminalized possession of small amounts. A person who possesses less than half an ounce of marijuana will not face criminal charges, but they will instead be fined $150 for a first offense and between $250 and $500 for any subsequent offenses. Possession of one half of an ounce of marijuana or more is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can be punished by up to one year in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

Connecticut law does allow for medical marijuana use, and qualifying patients over the age of 18 are immune from being arrested, prosecuted, or facing civil penalties for the possession of the drug. To qualify for a medical marijuana card, a patient must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition such as cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Doctors, caregivers, manufacturers, and dispensaries are also given immunity, as long as they comply with the law. 

Drivers in Connecticut may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they operate a vehicle while intoxicated by marijuana, including marijuana used for medical purposes. However, while the state’s laws specify that a person is intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, there is no legal limit for the amount of marijuana in a person’s system. Following an arrest, police officers may request that a person give a urine sample, and prosecutors may use the results of this test along with testimony from the arresting officer to argue that a driver was intoxicated. Unlike alcohol intoxication, a driver who tests positive for marijuana will not have their driver’s license suspended automatically, although a DUI conviction will result in license suspension.

Contact a Hartford Marijuana Charges Lawyer

Because of the confusion surrounding changing marijuana laws, the possibility remains that a person could face criminal charges for possession or distribution of this drug or DUI related to the use of cannabis. The Woolf Law Firm, LLC can provide legal help and representation in these cases, and we will fight to protect your rights at all times. Call our Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney today at 860-290-8690 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20201105_will_connecticut_legalize_marijuana_in_2021/

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_420b.htm#sec_21a-279

https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Drug-Control-Division/Drug-Control/Medical-Marijuana

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0134.htm

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