Cannabis use of allowed for medical use in Connecticut, and possession for personal, recreational use has been decriminalized. Residents of the Constitution State should be familiar with local paraphernalia laws.
Connecticut marijuana laws allow use of the drug for medical purposes, while recreational use has been decriminalized. Distribution and cultivation are illegal, as is any form of cannabis concentrate. Paraphernalia is likewise illegal.
Simple possession of marijuana is a civil offense, punishable by a fine of $150 on a first offense. On a subsequent offense, the fine increases to a maximum of $500. Possession of between half an ounce and 4 ounces carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines in a first offense. The charge becomes a felony on subsequent offenses, punishable by a maximum five years in prison and $3,000 in fines.
Possession of greater amounts can be punished by up to five years in prison and $2,000 in fines on a first offense, with a maximum 10 years imprisonment and $5,000 on a subsequent charge.
Distribution and Cultivation
It is a felony in Connecticut to cultivate marijuana, distribute it, or possess it with intent to distribute it. Where the offense involves less than 1 kilogram, the maximum penalty is seven years in prison and $25,000 in fines on a first offense. The maximum penalty increases to a possible 15 years in prison and $100,000 on a subsequent charge.
Where more than 1 kilogram is involved, there is a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and up to $25,000 in fines. Subsequent charges are subject to a longer minimum sentence, ten years, and a possible $100,000 in fines.
Three years are added to the prison sentence for distribution or cultivation of cannabis within 1,500 feet of a school, public housing project, or daycare center. Sale by an adult to a minor is punishable by an extra two years in prison.
Hash and Concentrates
Marijuana laws in CT treat concentrated forms of the drug, including hashish, the same as dried herbs. That means no special penalties are imposed for possession, cultivation, or distribution of concentrates. But like all forms of marijuana, they are illegal for recreational use.
The penalties for possession of paraphernalia vary depending on the amount of cannabis involved. Possession of paraphernalia with intent to use it to grow, distribute, or use less than half an ounce is a simple civil infraction with a maximum fine of $300.
If the intent is to cultivate, distribute, or ingest more than half an ounce, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. Distribution of paraphernalia, finally, carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. An extra year is added to the sentence for distributing or possessing paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school.
The law was signed into law on May 31, 2012, allowing qualifying patients to use medical marijuana to treat a relatively long list of conditions. Qualifying patients must register with the Department of Consumer Protection before engaging in the palliative use of marijuana. Patients in Connecticut must be aged 18 or older. “Prison inmates, or others under the supervision of the Department of Corrections, would not qualify, regardless of their medical condition.”
Qualifying conditions – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis*, Cachexia, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Epilepsy, Fabry Disease*, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Intractable spasticity, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Post-surgical back pain with a condition called chronic radiculopathy*, Post laminectomy syndrome*, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis*, Sickle cell disease*, and Ulcerative colitis*. Other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection.
*approved by the programs physicians’ board but awaiting regulatory approval
Patient possession limits – One-month supply
Home cultivation – No
State-licensed dispensaries – Yes
Caregivers – Yes. A qualifying patient may have no more than one primary caregiver at a time.
Reciprocity – No
Contact information – Additional information about medical marijuana in CT for patients and physicians regarding Public Act 12-55, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, is available online from the state Department of Consumer Protection.
Below is a breakdown of CT marijuana laws and penalties.
|Less than 1/2 oz (first offense)||Civil Penalty||N/A||$ 150|
|Less than 1/2 oz (subsequent offense)||Civil Penalty||N/A||$ 500|
|1/2 – less than 4 oz (first offense)||Misdemeanor||1 year||$ 1,000|
|1/2 – less than 4 oz (subsequent offense)||Felony||5 years||$ 3,000|
|4 oz or more (first offense)||Felony||5 years||$ 2,000|
|4 oz or more (subsequent offense)||Felony||10 years||$ 5,000|
Distribution or Cultivation
|Less than 1 kilogram (first offense)||Felony||7 years||$ 25,000|
|Less than 1 kilogram (subsequent offense)||Felony||15 years||$ 100,000|
|1 kilogram or more (first offense)||Felony||5* – 20 years||$ 25,000|
|1 kilogram or more (subsequent offense)||Felony||10* – 25 years||$ 100,000|
|Within 1,500 feet of an elementary/middle school, public housing project, or daycare center is punishable by an additional 3 years imprisonment.|
|By a person 18 years or older to a person under 18 is punishable by an additional 2 years imprisonment.|
|Distribution or cultivation includes possession with intent to distribute or cultivate marijuana.|
|* Mandatory minimum sentence|
Hash & Concentrates
|Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.|
|With the intent to use it to cultivate, distribute or inhale/ingest less than 1/2 oz||Civil Infraction||N/A||$ 300|
|With the intent to use it to cultivate, distribute or inhale/ingest more than 1/2 oz||Misdemeanor||3 months||$ 500|
|Distributing paraphernalia or possessing with the intent to distribute||Misdemeanor||1 year||$ 2,000|
|Distributing or possessing paraphernalia within 1500 feet of an elementary/middle school is punishable by an additional 1 year of imprisonment.|
|Any item used for the cultivation or distribution of marijuana is subject to forfeiture.|