State legislators in Connecticut have substantially relaxed the penalties associated with criminal possession of controlled substances over the past several years. Still, substance-related criminal charges can result in severe consequences upon conviction. On top of that, possessing a specified amount of certain controlled substances can prompt law enforcement to presume you possessed those substances with intent to distribute them, potentially upgrading what would have been a misdemeanor charge to a felony.
If you face criminal allegations related to drug possession, distribution, manufacture, or use, contacting a New London drug lawyer should be a top priority. These cases can be complicated and stressful, but it is often possible to fight back effectively with guidance from a defense attorney.
Is Marijuana Legal in New London, Connecticut?
As of January 10, 2023, it is legal for adults over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana and various cannabis products in designated retail stores across Connecticut. This expands upon laws that fully legalized the recreational use of marijuana in July of 2021 and further extended those rights in July of 2023; state residents over 21 can now legally possess up to one and a half ounces of cannabis and grow up to three mature cannabis plants and three immature plants, up to a maximum of 12 per household.
Importantly, though, growing more plants than the legal limit or selling marijuana outside a licensed dispensary can still be prosecuted as a criminal offense. Manufacturing or distributing less than eight ounces of cannabis is punishable under Connecticut General Statute §21a-278b by a $500 fine for a first offense and is considered a Class C misdemeanor for second and subsequent offenses. As a local drug attorney could further explain, possession or distribution of larger quantities of marijuana may be considered a form of drug trafficking and prosecuted as a felony offense.
Other Drug-Related Criminal Charges
Under C.G.S. §21a-279, possession of any amount of a controlled substance other than marijuana solely for personal use is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor offense, with slightly enhanced penalties—including mandatory jail time, probation, and community service—for possession around school grounds or any daycare facility. If someone accused of this offense is a second-time offender and determined to be drug-dependent, the court can elect to suspend prosecution in favor of substance abuse treatment. Courts are generally encouraged to recommend medical treatment over criminal sanctions whenever possible.
Conversely, state law treats the distribution and manufacture of controlled substances extremely harshly. A first-time offense for manufacturing or distributing any narcotic or hallucinogenic substance is punishable under C.G.S. §21a-277 by 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Manufacturing or distributing any other controlled substance can result in a seven-year prison term and a $25,000 fine. There are also enhanced penalties established under C.G.S. §21a-278a for the distribution of controlled substances to minors by someone who is not drug-dependent themselves. Our New London lawyers can further explain these penalties and work to build a strong defense against the specific drug charges.
Contact a New London Drug Attorney for Assistance
Drug charges can have serious consequences for your freedom, future, and rights. Fortunately, you have help available from the legal team at Ruane Attorneys. We know how to handle situations like yours and could tailor a defense to the circumstances of your case.
During a private consultation, a New London drug lawyer could discuss your defense options and potential next steps. Schedule yours by calling our firm today.