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Is Weed Legal in Connecticut?

On June 1st, 2016 medical marijuana was legalized in Connecticut under a fairly strict list of qualifying conditions – Connecticut is the only state to not have chronic pain as a qualifying condition. The true expansion of Connecticut’s medical marijuana program was in 2016 as the state allowed for more dispensaries, more patients and expanded the narrow list of conditions a little bit. The medical marijuana program in Connecticut is still a very small program with a lot of improvements to be made.

 

The use of recreational marijuana in Connecticut has been decriminalized but not yet legalized. This means that first-time offenders possessing small amounts of marijuana typically pay a small fine that does not impact their record akin to a traffic violation.  A bill was created at the beginning of 2020 to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up. This bill does have a great promise and it looks like recreational marijuana will be legalized in the near future. However, amongst the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill has been put on hold until the pandemic subsides.

Buying Marijuana in Connecticut

As of now, there are around 20 medical dispensaries across the state of Connecticut. Only valid medical patients are allowed to purchase marijuana from these locations, as recreational marijuana is still illegal. Medical dispensaries have been open since June of 2012, serving all types of marijuana products to patients in need. Finding a dispensary that is right for you is just a click away!

Buying Marijuana at a Retail Location

Since only medical marijuana is legal in the state of Connecticut, showing a government-issued ID is not enough to purchase weed. A medical patient must bring their valid ID as well as their medical marijuana card. Failure to bring both of these items will result in the dispensary not allowing entry. Patients and caregivers must also be above the age of 18 to enter a medical dispensary and non-medical patients and caregivers are not allowed in a dispensary under any circumstances.

Using a Marijuana Delivery Service

Written in section 12 of Connecticut’s marijuana act, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, no person is allowed to “sell, deliver, transport or distribute marijuana to a person who is not a licensed dispensary.” Therefore, no one in the state of Connecticut is allowed to deliver marijuana to a personal residence or anywhere that is not a dispensary. There have been no bills or petitions to modify this act and it would appear that marijuana delivery services are not coming to Connecticut anytime soon.

Store Hours

Under Connecticut’s marijuana act, there was no mention of limiting store hours of medical dispensaries. However, nearly every medical dispensary in Connecticut has chosen to close at 8:00 p.m. The opening hours, on the other hand, vary from dispensary to dispensary but usually range between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

Purchasing Restrictions

Connecticut requires that a patient cannot purchase more than 2.5 ounces per month as that would be in direct violation to the possession limits. In alternative cases, a doctor may recommend less than 2.5 ounces worth of marijuana products per month at which point a patient may not purchase more per month than their doctor recommends. Therefore, if your doctor does not recommend a certain amount of cannabis, you can purchase 2.5 ounces per month.

Available Products

All marijuana products and accessories are legal under the state of Connecticut. With the advance of marijuana research and innovation, there is now a massive variety of marijuana products that can be found, and Connecticut has them all. This ranges from actual flower to edibles, creams, oils, ointments, and more.

Taxes on Marijuana in Connecticut

Taxes on Recreational Marijuana in Connecticut

For the time being, recreational marijuana is still illegal under Connecticut law and anyone caught using or possessing marijuana without a valid medical marijuana card will be fined or worse depending on the amount and number of offenses. Therefore, there are no taxes on recreational marijuana because it is still an illegal product.

Taxes on Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Connecticut has a very straightforward tax program on medical marijuana. Simply enough, medical marijuana is taxed as $3.50 per gram of marijuana or marijuana product. In addition to this, medical marijuana patients are not exempt from state sales tax and they must pay Connecticut’s standard sales tax of 6.35% upon final sale of marijuana or marijuana products.

Possession

Possession laws have a dual nature to them in the state of Connecticut. Unless otherwise stated by their doctor, patients may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana products per month. However, a doctor has the authority to recommend or prescribe less than 2.5 ounces per month in which case a patient may not possess more than their doctor’s prescription. It is not super common that a doctor will put additional possession restrictions on a patient, but it is certainly a rule that must be followed.

Using Marijuana in Connecticut

Connecticut takes the possession of marijuana very seriously especially when it comes to possessing marijuana near schools. Marijuana is not to come close to school property or else one will face massive fines. There have also been no businesses established where patients can legally consume cannabis. Therefore, marijuana is only to be consumed in the privacy of one’s own home and out of sight of the public eye.

 

Areas in Connecticut that DO allow the use of marijuana:

  •  The privacy of one’s own home away from the public eye

 

Areas in Connecticut that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:

·      In any motor vehicle including a camper bus and school bus.

·      In the workplace

·      On any school grounds public or private including dormitories or university parks

·      Any public place

·      In the presence of any one under the age of 18

·      In any fashion that could endanger the health or well-being of a person who is not a patient or primary caregiver

Smoking on Federal Lands

Due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, one is never allowed to consume or possess cannabis on any federal land or within close proximity. If you are caught smoking or ingesting marijuana on federal territory, you will be prosecuted under federal law.

Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

The only way to obtain legal marijuana in Connecticut is to own a valid Connecticut MMJ card. Even out of state medical cards will not suffice to purchase medical marijuana. Patients are also limited to a 30-day supply of either 2.5 ounces or less depending on what their doctor recommends. The list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions is much narrower than most states so be sure to check out Connecticut’s approved marijuana conditions before you consider medical marijuana.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Connecticut

To obtain a medical marijuana card in the state of Connecticut, your physician must begin the process through registering you in the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program by certifying that you have a qualifying medical condition. Both qualifying patients and caregivers must be at least 18 years of age.

 

Once your doctor has provided certification to the Department of Consumer Protection stating that you have a qualifying medical condition and will benefit from using medical marijuana, the DCP will contact you to complete the registration. You will be asked to submit the following:

·      Proof of identity

·      Proof of Connecticut residency

·      Current passport size photograph

·      $25.00 registration fee

 

Finally, after the submission of these documents, you will be issued a medical marijuana card and are free to purchase cannabis from medical retailers across Connecticut.

Out of State Medical Cards Connecticut

Out of state medical cards in Connecticut bear no significance or immunity from the law. Therefore, in order to possess or purchase marijuana in the state of Connecticut consumers must have a valid Connecticut marijuana card. There have been no acts to offer reciprocity for out of state medical cards in the state of Connecticut either.

How to Transport Marijuana in Connecticut

Transporting Marijuana in Connecticut

State-licensed medical marijuana patients are legally allowed to transport marijuana in their cars within the state boundaries of Connecticut. However, any marijuana product within the vehicle must be sealed and out of reach of the driver, including the glovebox. It is always best practice to store any marijuana in the car in the trunk or behind the backseat of the vehicle.

Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana

There is no legal limit that is safe to drive in the state of Connecticut. In fact, any sign of impairment will warrant a drug inspecting officer to be notified and sent to investigate one’s driving condition. Driving under the influence of marijuana is always a bad idea and can result in massive legal problems similar to that of a DUI. If found driving under the influence of marijuana, one’s license will be suspended and they will have to pay massive legal fines and carry out court-mandated punishment. If you are high, don’t even think about driving and utilize Connecticut’s public transportation or any popular ride-sharing app.

Driving Across State Lines with Marijuana

Although medical marijuana is legal in the state of Connecticut and some surrounding states, one can never legally cross state borders with marijuana in their car. This is because state borders are under federal jurisdiction where marijuana of any kind is still illegal. Therefore, if you are caught trying to drive across state lines with marijuana, you will be prosecuted under federal rulings.

Growing Marijuana in Connecticut

Growing marijuana in Connecticut is still highly illegal and will result in serious punishments. Growing less than a kilogram of marijuana is a felony resulting in 7 years of jail time and a $25,000 fine if caught even for the first time. Getting caught the second time doubles the years of jail time and quadruples the total fines. Connecticut has made growing marijuana such a serious criminal offense that growing even the smallest amount can’t possibly be worth it.

 

Reources

 

https://www.mpp.org/states/connecticut/

 

https://portal.ct.gov/DRS/Publications/Special-Notices/1992/SN-92-8

 

https://www.connecticutmag.com/health-and-science/faq-medical-marijuana-in-connecticut/article_bc759a08-4c12-11e9-b2d1-6bffe98e4352.html

 

https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Medical-Marijuana-Program/Law-and-Regulations