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Connecticut Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

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 - 4 oz (first offense) civil penalty 1 year $ 1,000
1/2 - 4 oz (subsequent offense) civil penalty 5 years $ 3,000
More than 4 oz (first offense) civil penalty 5 years $ 2,000
More than 4 oz (subsequent offense) civil penalty 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
More than 1 kilogram (first offense) felony 5* - 20 years $ 25,000
More than 1 kilogram (subsequent offense) felony 10* - 20 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.

Paraphernalia

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 mos $ 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.

Forfeiture

Any item used for the cultivation or distribution of marijuana is subject to forfeiture.

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 but less than four ounces of marijuana by a first time offender can be punished with a prison term not to exceed one year and a $1,000 fine.

Possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana but less than four ounces of marijuana after a first offense carries a penalty of imprisonment for a term not to exceed five years and a fine not to exceed $3,000.

For first offenders, possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 5 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 10 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • 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 under 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 greater than 1 kilogram of marijuana is punishable by 5-20 years of imprisonment. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up 10-20 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-278(a)

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-278(b)

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-278(c)

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

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.

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.

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. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.

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.






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