Connecticut Marijuana Drug Laws

Definition of the Drug

Marijuana is classified as “cannabis-type substance” under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-240.

Conn. Gen Stat. 21a-240(7).

Include all parts of any plant, or species of the genus cannabis or any infra specific taxon thereof whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such a plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin; but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such mature stalks, except the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. Included are cannabinon, cannabinol, cannabidiol and chemical compounds which are similar to cannabinon, cannabinol or cannabidiol in chemical structure or which are similar thereto in physiological effect, and which show a like potential for abuse, which are controlled substances under this chapter unless modified.

Conn. Gen Stat. 21a-240(29).

Means all parts of any plant, or species of the genus cannabis or any infra specific taxon thereof, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such mature stalks, except the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination. Included are cannabinon, cannabinol or cannabidiol and chemical compounds which are similar to cannabinon, cannabinol or cannabidiol in chemical structure or which are similar thereto in physiological effect, and which show a like potential for abuse, which are controlled substances under this chapter unless modified.

Possession Generally

Please see our pages on possession for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute possession.

Simple Possession

Misdemeanors are less-serious crimes. The consequences for misdemeanor convictions are generally less severe than for felony convictions. They are generally punishable by a fine or incarceration in the county jail for less than one year. A person with a misdemeanor crime on his record may still be able to serve on a jury, practice the professions, and vote.

First offenders possessing less than four ounces of marijuana will be charged with misdemeanor or “simple” possession.

Penalties for Simple Possession

For a first conviction of simple possession, you are facing up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine.

Felony Possession

Felonies are the most serious crimes in any system of criminal law. A standard definition of a felony is any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or by death.

Often the offense itself is not labeled as a felony, but the punishment tells the public that the offense is a felony. Additionally, statutes may label a crime a "gross" or "aggravated" misdemeanor but provide for a sentence of more than one year in the state penitentiary system, ensuring that the offense is treated as felony in many respects.

A person convicted of a felony may have more restrictions on their rights than a person convicted of a lesser crime. In many jurisdictions, felons cannot serve on juries. Often times they lose their right to vote or to practice certain professions, such as lawyer or teacher. Felons may be prohibited from owning guns or serving in the military.

Second offenders of simple possession, or persons in possession of four ounces or more of marijuana, will be charged with felony possession.

Penalties for Felony Possession

For a first conviction of possession of more than four ounces of marijuana, you are facing up to 5 years in jail and up to a $2000.00 fine.

For a second or (subsequent) conviction of possession of more than four ounces of marijuana, you are facing up to 10 years in jail and up to a $5000.00 fine.
For a second or (subsequent) conviction of possession of less than four ounces of marijuana, you are facing up to 5 years in jail and up to a $3000.00 fine.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-279. Penalty for illegal possession.

(b) Any person who possesses or has under his control any quantity of a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana or four ounces or more of a cannabis-type substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, may be imprisoned not more than five years or be fined not more than two thousand dollars or be both fined and imprisoned, and for a subsequent offense may be imprisoned not more than ten years or be fined not more than five thousand dollars or be both fined and imprisoned.

(c) Any person who possesses or has under his control any quantity of any controlled substance other than a narcotic substance, or a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana or who possesses or has under his control less than four ounces of a cannabis-type substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, may be fined not more than one thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than one year, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for a subsequent offense, may be fined not more than three thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than five years, or be both fined and imprisoned.

Possession with Intent to Sell
Please see our pages on possession with intent to see for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute this crime.

Penalties for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

a. Less than 1 Kilogram of Marijuana

For any conviction of possession of less than 1 kilogram of marijuana with the intent to sell, you are facing up to 7 years in prision and fines.

b. 1 Kilogram or More of Marijuana

For the first conviction of possession of more than 1 kilogram of marijuana with the intent to sell, you are facing a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in jail and fines.
For the second (or subsequent) conviction of possession of more than 1 kilogram of marijuana with the intent to sell, you are facing a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in jail and fines.

Relevant Statutes

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-277. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing.

(a) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person any controlled substance which is a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana, or a narcotic substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, shall be imprisoned not more than fifteen years and may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars or be both fined and imprisoned; and for a second offense shall be imprisoned not more than thirty years and may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for each subsequent offense, shall be imprisoned not more than thirty years and may be fined not more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars, or be both fined and imprisoned.

(b) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with intent to sell or dispense, possesses with intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person any controlled substance, except a narcotic substance, or a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana, except as authorized in this chapter, may, for the first offense, be fined not more than twenty-five thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than seven years or be both fined and imprisoned; and, for each subsequent offense, may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or be both fined and imprisoned.

(c) No person shall knowingly possess drug paraphernalia in a drug factory situation as defined by subdivision (20) of section 21a-240 for the unlawful mixing, compounding or otherwise preparing any controlled substance for purposes of violation of this chapter.

(d) As an alternative to the sentences specified in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the court may sentence the person to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction for an indeterminate term not to exceed three years or the maximum term specified for the offense, whichever is the lesser, and, at any time within such indeterminate term and without regard to any other provision of law regarding minimum term of confinement, the Commissioner of Correction may release the convicted person so sentenced subject to such conditions as he may impose including, but not limited to, supervision by suitable authority. At any time during such indeterminate term, the Commissioner of Correction may revoke any such conditional release in his discretion for violation of the conditions imposed and return the convicted person to a correctional institution.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or administration by non-drug-dependent person.

(a) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing an aggregate weight of one ounce or more of heroin or methadone or an aggregate weight of one-half ounce or more of cocaine or one-half ounce or more of cocaine in a free-base form, or a substance containing five milligrams or more of lysergic acid diethylamide, except as authorized in this chapter, and who is not, at the time of such action, a drug-dependent person, shall be imprisoned for a minimum term of not less than five years or more than twenty years; and, a maximum term of life imprisonment. The execution of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the provisions of this subsection shall not be suspended, except the court may suspend the execution of such mandatory minimum sentence if at the time of the commission of the offense (1) such person was under the age of eighteen years, or (2) such person's mental capacity was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.

(b) Any person who manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with the intent to sell or dispense, possesses with the intent to sell or dispense, offers, gives or administers to another person any narcotic substance, hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana, amphetamine-type substance, or one kilogram or more of a cannabis-type substance, except as authorized in this chapter, and who is not, at the time of such action, a drug-dependent person, for a first offense shall be imprisoned not less than five years or more than twenty years; and for each subsequent offense shall be imprisoned not less than ten years or more than twenty-five years. The execution of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the provisions of this subsection shall not be suspended, except the court may suspend the execution of such mandatory minimum sentence if at the time of the commission of the offense (1) such person was under the age of eighteen years, or (2) such person's mental capacity was significantly impaired, but not so impaired as to constitute a defense to prosecution.

Possession Near a Prohibited Place

Please see our pages on possession near a prohibited for a detailed discussion on what act or acts constitute this crime.

Penalties for Possession Near a Prohibited Place

You are facing up to 3 years in prison, to be served consecutively in addition to any prison time for the underlying offense.

Relevant Statutes

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-278a. Penalty for illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription or administration.

(b) Any person who violates section 21a-277 or 21a-278 by manufacturing, distributing, selling, prescribing, dispensing, compounding, transporting with the intent to sell or dispense, possessing with the intent to sell or dispense, offering, giving or administering to another person any controlled substance in or on, or within one thousand five hundred feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, a public housing project or a licensed child day care center, as defined in section 19a-77, that is identified as a child day care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place shall be imprisoned for a term of three years, which shall not be suspended and shall be in addition and consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed for violation of section 21a-277 or 21a-278. To constitute a violation of this subsection, an act of transporting or possessing a controlled substance shall be with intent to sell or dispense in or on, or within one thousand five hundred feet of, the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, a public housing project or a licensed child day care center, as defined in section 19a-77, that is identified as a child day care center by a sign posted in a conspicuous place. For the purposes of this subsection, “public housing project” means dwelling accommodations operated as a state or federally subsidized multifamily housing project by a housing authority, nonprofit corporation or municipal developer, as defined in section 8-39, pursuant to chapter 128 or by the Connecticut Housing Authority pursuant to chapter 129.

The Drug Dependant Person

Please see our pages on the drug dependant person for a detailed discussion.

Conspiracy

Please see our pages on the drug dependant person for a detailed discussion

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Connecticut if it was supplied “pursuant” to a prescription for either the treatment of glaucoma or for the side effects of chemotherapy.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-253. Possession of marijuana pursuant to a prescription by a physician.

Any person may possess or have under his control a quantity of marijuana less than or equal to that quantity supplied to him pursuant to a prescription made in accordance with the provisions of section 21a-249 by a physician licensed under the provisions of chapter 370 and further authorized by subsection (a) of section 21a-246 by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to possess and supply marijuana for the treatment of glaucoma or the side effects of chemotherapy.



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