Connecticut, one of the three states in New England without legal recreational weed. It’s an idyllic slice who’s heritage lays claim to some of the oldest things found in the USA. Like their old heritage, some of the states laws fit nicely into this category too. But this could soon be changing.
Much like its neighbor states, The Land of Steady Habits is looking to bring itself in line with the likes of Vermont and Maine, and legalize weed. Martin Looney (D), Senate President Pro Tempore of Connecticut made the following statement:
“We are revisiting legalizing recreational cannabis because we see that most of our neighboring states have already done it or want to do it this year.”
But don’t get too ahead of yourselves, there’s still some way to go before it can be legally enjoyed.
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Weed Laws In Connecticut
In some regards, Connecticut is quite a lenient state in regards to marijuana. Decriminalized in 2011, the penalties for possession can be construed as relaxed at this point. With less than half an ounce, possession is considered a civil penalty, carrying no jail time and (relatively) small fines. However, begin dialing up the weight, and the state’s leniency begins to evaporate.
Connecticut is home to mandatory minimum sentences. While this only applies to a selection of crimes, cultivation or distribution of large quantities of marijuana is covered under these measures. 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years, provided its your first offense. If it’s your second sentence, this goes up to a minimum of 10 years. Judges may impose less than the minimum sentence if there is no evidence of a violent crime having taken place.
Medical Weed In Connecticut
Connecticuter’s have access to medical weed. The medical marijuana laws were introduced in 2012, and mirror the laws of other New England states with MMJ programs. Users require a valid MMJ card. As with the decriminalized laws, MMJ users cannot cultivate a home crop. They can however keep up to a month’s supply at home. Connecticut doesn’t allow for reciprocal use of dispensaries though, with MMJ cardholders only allowed to access their own states dispensaries, there being 17 in all. Out of state MMJ cardholders cannot utilize Connecticut dispensaries.
Connecticut also utilizes tax stamps. These stamps must be purchased and placed onto any marijuana or contraband that’s been purchased, or else you could be charged up to 200% in tax, or even face jail time.
One of the hampering factors to a 2019 bill to legalize marijuana in the state of Connecticut was a lack of revenue, with Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney citing:
“We clearly need additional revenue and anecdotally we hear about people who travel to Massachusetts to purchase it…”
The revenue generated from tax stamps belongs to the state, allowing for an expansion of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. With Massachusetts being only a short drive away, it can be cheaper for residents to simply purchase there.
Connecticut Wants Legal Weed
As touched on earlier, Connecticut lawmakers have made legalizing weed a priority for 2020. According to a CBS poll last year, 65% of Americans support legalization of marijuana. This majority support is mirrored in the state of Connecticut. Hartford Courant News and Sacred Heart University conducted their own poll on state support in 2019, finding that 59% of the state-supported the legalization of marijuana. Slightly less than the national average, but a majority nonetheless.
Louisiana Cannabis Laws
With medical programs and dispensaries already active, the developments of legalization laws in other states and the support of a senate president, on top of national and state-wide attitudes, the end is nearly in sight for the state of Connecticut after over 20 years of discussion on this matter. Legal weed will hopefully be coming to Connecticut in full, really soon.