With Connecticut’s Complex Marijuana Laws, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Connecticut’s marijuana laws have been updated to allow individuals over the age of 21 to legally possess, use, and consume marijuana. It is now permissible for those of age to openly possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and up to five ounces when securely stored in a container within their residence or personal vehicle. Possessing 1.5-plus ounces of marijuana in an insecure manner will result in a ticket. Furthermore, possessing five-plus ounces of any marijuana product can lead to a Class C misdemeanor if you have prior offenses. It’s important to understand that being found guilty in either scenario can devastate your life.

Individuals under the age of 21 are not legally allowed to possess marijuana. Illegal possession of marijuana can result in more than just financial penalties. This offense can have long-lasting effects on your criminal record and future employment prospects. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise caution and avoid engaging in activities that could lead to such consequences.

If you have been charged with illegally possessing marijuana, reach out to our skilled defense attorneys at The Maddox Law Firm, LLC, immediately. Delaying action can result in consequences that may have been otherwise avoidable. Give us a call at (203) 822-6610.

Penalties For Illegal Marijuana Possession

It is illegal for those under the age of 21 to possess marijuana as per § 21a-279a of the Connecticut General Statutes. If you are between the ages of 18 and 21 and are found guilty of possession of marijuana, you must sign a document acknowledging the adverse health effects of marijuana on young people while receiving a ticket. Possession of less than five ounces of marijuana will result in a $500 fine, while possession of more than five ounces will result in a misdemeanor charge.

Anyone under 18 years old caught with less than five ounces will be referred to the youth services bureau, and subsequent offenses will receive similar referrals. Anyone under 18 years old who is found with more than five ounces of marijuana will be considered delinquent and face the consequences. We strongly advise our clients not to pay the ticket but instead hire a team of criminal defense attorneys experienced in illegal marijuana possession cases. Work closely with our team to protect your rights and secure your future.

How Marijuana Offenses Can Impact Background Checks

There may be an alternative to pleading guilty to marijuana possession with the help of our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys. In some cases, courts and prosecutors offer a second chance as they understand the long-lasting effects of these charges.

If you plead guilty, it is reported to Connecticut’s Centralized Infractions Bureau in Hartford. State officials record the conviction with the DMV, which appears on various background checks.

  • Criminal background checks can reveal past convictions, including “Illegal Possession of Marijuana” tickets. Some employers and landlords may not be current on recent drug law changes and may make false assumptions about your drug use. This can lead to missed opportunities for those with past convictions.
  • Insurance carriers regularly conduct intense background checks on their insureds for auto, life, and disability insurance. If you fail to inform your carrier and they find a § 21a-279a conviction on your infraction history, your coverage may be canceled, or your premiums may increase.
  • Individuals applying for jobs involving money transfers on behalf of financial institutions may face employment obstacles if convicted of illegal marijuana possession.

The consequences of a background check can escalate rapidly. It is crucial to consult a skilled marijuana possession attorney to evaluate the viability of contesting your Connecticut § 21a-279a charge for illegal marijuana possession.

Answers To Common Questions About FAQs About Cannabis In Connecticut

Below, we’ve answered questions frequently asked by clients and prospective clients.

Can my employer prohibit me from consuming cannabis outside of work?

Employers cannot penalize nonexempt employees for off-work cannabis use or positive THC tests unless stated in a policy. Additionally, employers may not discriminate against nonexempt or potential employees for prior cannabis use.

Can I give cannabis away as a gift?

At establishments that hold a valid license for the sale of cannabis, individuals are permitted to purchase the product for personal use, but it is strictly prohibited to give it away as a gift. Medical marijuana products are not transferable in any way, whether through gifting or selling.

Can I grow cannabis at home?

Qualifying patients in Connecticut can grow cannabis inside their primary residence under certain conditions outlined in § 21a-408d of the Connecticut General Statutes. The plants must be kept in a locked indoor area and not visible to the public without optical aids. Patients’ caregivers may assist with cultivation and preparation, but homegrown cannabis cannot be sold, transferred or gifted.

Should I consult my health care provider about cannabis use?

It’s important to inform your health care provider of any substance use, including tobacco, alcohol or cannabis, as they may have adverse effects on your well-being, especially if you have a chronic health condition, an existing mental health condition, are scheduled for surgery or a medical procedure, or are pregnant.

What to ask depending on your existing health condition(s):

  • Ask your health care provider about how your personal health history may be affected by the cannabis products you are using.
  • If you have a chronic health condition, discuss with your doctor the potential effects of using cannabis.
  • When going through your list of medications, inquire about potential interactions with cannabis usage.
  • Cannabis use can impact anesthesia and pain management during medical procedures. Consult your doctor before surgery to discuss how cannabis use can affect your procedure and recovery.
  • Using cannabis while pregnant can harm your baby’s growth, cause stillbirth, low birth weight and affect brain development in the long term. If you’re pregnant and experiencing symptoms like nausea, sleeplessness or discomfort, you must speak with your doctor about alternative ways to manage them.

Sharing details about your consumption of cannabis with your health care provider is a crucial step toward receiving personalized and effective treatment. Being transparent about your usage can provide your provider with valuable insights to help them customize a treatment plan that suits your unique needs and circumstances.

What are the advantages of buying cannabis from a licensed establishment?

There are many advantages, including:

Drugs are lab tested: All cannabis and cannabis products sold by licensed establishments undergo laboratory testing for potency, cannabinoids, terpenes, contaminants and pesticides to ensure consumer health and safety.

Products have clear labeling: Labels will indicate the brand name, presence of THC or CBD, serving size, and dosing to provide clarity to the consumer.

Products do not immediately appeal to children: Brand names, packaging, and labeling do not resemble non-cannabis products or appeal to children in any way, preventing accidental ingestion.

Sales locations are secure: Cannabis retailers must meet strict security measures, such as 24/7 surveillance, secure storage and well-lit parking areas.

Trained staff: At licensed cannabis establishments, trained staff can assist in choosing the right product.

What are the differences between cannabis and CBD products?

Cannabis and hemp-derived CBD products are legal in Connecticut. Although from the same plant, they differ in effects, regulation and accessibility.

Both products may contain cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes people to feel high. Connecticut allows cannabis and products with over 0.3% THC for medical and adult-use.

CBD is like THC but lacks psychoactive effects. In Connecticut, only licensed cannabis stores can sell CBD with up to 0.3% THC. Consumers should research products before buying online or locally.

There are various ways to consume cannabis and CBD products, such as smoking or vaping, ingestion, and topical application to the skin or under the tongue.

What are the adult-use cannabis program and the medical marijuana program in Connecticut?

Individuals who have reached the age of 21 and above are permitted to buy cannabis products from authorized retailers and micro-cultivators without the need for registration. However, an age verification process is required to ensure that only eligible individuals are granted access to the adult-use cannabis market.

To access the medical marijuana market, individuals must first receive certification from a practitioner confirming their approved condition and register with the Department of Consumer Protection. This ensures that only qualified patients and caregivers can access the market and its products.

Adult-Use Cannabis Program

Registration Required: No
Allotment: ¼ ounce per transaction
Amount Allowed to be Carried on Person: 1.5 ounces
Amount Allowed in Private Residence or Locked Glovebox: 5 ounces
Tax: Retail price (6.35% sales tax, 3% municipalities tax, THC tax based on milligrams)
Financial Assistance: No
Cannabis Potency: Up to 30% for cannabis flower, up to 60% for other cannabis products
Product Types: No capsules, pills, tablets, sublinguals, suppositories or other nonoral administering
Age Restriction: 21+

Medical Marijuana Program

Registration Required: Yes
Allotment: 5 ounces/month (or as prescribed by a practitioner)
Amount Allowed to be Carried on Person: 5 ounces
Amount Allowed in Private Residence or Locked Glovebox: 5 ounces
Tax: Retail price (medication is nontaxable)
Financial Assistance: Yes (multiple programs at licensed establishments, income-based)
Cannabis Potency: No restriction
Product Types: No restriction
Age Restriction: Minors under 18 and adults over 18 must be certified

How do I properly dispose of cannabis waste?

To safely dispose of cannabis waste, mix it with other materials like coffee grounds or kitty litter so it can’t be used. Place it in a sealed container and throw it away with regular trash. Recyclable packaging should be emptied and cleaned before recycling, while nonrecyclable packaging should be thrown away. Never flush cannabis products or packaging down the sink or toilet.

What are the symptoms of accidental cannabis ingestion?

Accidental ingestion of cannabis occurs when a person or animal unknowingly eats, swallows, or takes it into their body. Symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Coordination problems
  • Dizziness
  • Higher heart rate
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sleepiness (common in children)
  • Slurred speech

It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of unintentional cannabis ingestion and seek help or treatment if necessary.

Is there a road test for cannabis?

While there is no cannabis breathalyzer, impaired driving can still be recognized through driver behavior and sobriety tests. The law strengthens police training on impaired driving and helps keep all drug-impaired drivers off the road. Refusing a drug evaluation from a Drug Recognition Expert may result in license suspension.

Get Answers To Your Questions – Contact Us Today

If you have questions about criminal matters related to cannabis possession or use in Connecticut, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at The Maddox Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation. You can reach out online or call (203) 822-6610.

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