Possession of cannabis among adults age 21 and over will be legal in Connecticut beginning July 1, 2021. Adults cannot have more than 1.5 ounces of cannabis on their person, and no more than 5 ounces in their homes or locked in their car truck or glove box.
Marijuana Legal in CT As of July 1st, What the Law Says
After years of marijuana legislation being rejected, on Thursday, June 17th, the Connecticut Senate passed a bill that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana with a 16-11 vote. The bill now has been signed into law by Governor Lamont, making marijuana legal in CT.
CT Cannabis Bill 1201 Signed on June 22, 2021
On June 22, 2021, Gov. Edward “Ned” Lamont signed S.B. 1201 — “An Act Concerning the Equitable and Responsible Regulation of Cannabis” — into law, concluding a multi-year effort to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in the Constitution State. Earlier in June, the House and Senate passed S.B. 1201 in special session on 76-62 and 16-11 votes, respectively.
Marijuana Legal In CT, What the Law Involves
The new CT law and some aspects of the 295-page bill remain open to interpretation and with many questions. Under Senate Bill 1201, approved by the state’s senate on Thursday, slated to become effective on July 1, adults 21 and older can legally purchase and possess marijuana for recreational use. Individual possession limits are capped at 1.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate, with up to 5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate permitted in a locked container.
The bill also addresses what the commercial sale of cannabis will look like in the future of Connecticut and when it will begin. Along with this, the bill also addresses racial disparities and injustices that the war on drugs has had on Black and Brown communities, with Governor Lamont and Connecticut officials stating that they worked towards finalizing a bill that will prioritize social justice and equality. State officials will also prioritize public health and safety through this bill, as well as boost Connecticut’s economy to keep the state competitive with surrounding states in the commercial sale of cannabis.
“I look forward to signing the bill and moving beyond this terrible period of incarceration and injustice,” Lamont said.
What the bill entitles is the following, “A person would be allowed to have up to 1.5 ounces, with an additional 5 ounces secured in their home or vehicle.” Retail sales of recreational cannabis in Connecticut are not expected to begin until the summer of 2022, at the earliest.
After House members on Wednesday stripped an amendment the Senate previously added to the cannabis legalization bill that ensured that an “equity applicant” for marijuana industry licenses, who would receive preferential status, could include people living in certain geographic areas who were previously arrested or convicted for the sale, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis. The provision also applied to individuals whose parent; spouse or child was arrested or convicted of the same charges. Lamont threatened to veto the bill if the amendment was not removed.
Connecticut’s Governor argued that this would open up the industry and give preference to tens of thousands of people with a history of cannabis crimes, or members of their families, regardless of their financial means.
Connecticut’s law legalizing cannabis is comprehensive, protects our children and the most vulnerable in our communities, and will be viewed as a national model.
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) June 22, 2021
Decriminalization of Cannabis in Connecticut
Since 2011, possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana has been a civil violation. Cannabis in Connecticut has already been somewhat decriminalized in legal terms, considering violators are charged only with a civil violation, making marijuana legal in CT a matter of time. The 2011 law stated only a punishable fine of up to $150, meaning it is not a “jailable” offense. Subsequent offenses are subject to increased fines ranging from $200-$500. Upon a third violation, offenders are referred to a drug awareness program.
In addition to the fine, anyone under 21 who is found in possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana faces a 60-day suspension of his or her driver’s license. With marijuana legal in CT, individuals must be 21 or older to qualify for recreational use and follow the law involving possession and place of use.
People with Prior Marijuana Convictions
Because of the passing of this marijuana bill, prior convictions will depend on the specific charge and when the person was convicted. People charged with possession of 4 ounces or less of cannabis before Jan. 1, 2000, or from Oct. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2021, can petition a court beginning July 1, 2022, to have their criminal record erased. Those charged with that same offense from Jan. 1, 2000, through Sept. 30, 2015, will have their records automatically erased on Jan. 1, 2023. More serious marijuana charges would not be eligible for erasure.
Marijuana in Connecticut’s Public Areas
Even though lawmakers made marijuana legal in CT, smoking marijuana would generally not be allowed in places where cigarette smoke is already prohibited. That includes restaurants, health care facilities, state or municipal buildings and most workplaces. The use of any cannabis would be banned in state parks, with $250 fines for offenders in Connecticut. Hotels would be required to prohibit guests from smoking marijuana, but they could not ban possession and use of other forms of the drug in nonpublic areas. Marijuana use would be illegal in motor vehicles by both drivers and passengers.
The marijuana law which is lengthy states you can’t smoke marijuana even as a passenger in a motor vehicle “that is being operated” on any public road, highway or parking lot with more than 10 spaces. So while inside a car, you simply cannot be smoking cannabis in Connecticut. Marijuana use is prohibited while driving, with tough laws that would apply similarly to drunk driving.
3-D Bail Bonds is a Connecticut bail bond company serving the state since 1997. For immediate bail bonds service, contact the nearest bondsman at (860) 247-2245. While marijuana smoking may be legal in CT on July 1st, the law is extensive and entitles provisions that could lead to criminal arrests.