Connecticut: Incoming Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will be a Priority Next Year

Connecticut’s incoming Governor Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that he plans to make marijuana legalization a top priority in 2019.

“It’s going to be one of the priorities we got,” said Lamont when asked about marijuana legalization. “It’s something I would support, and I don’t want the black market controlling marijuana distribution in our state. I think that’s a lousy way to go. Canada, Massachusetts, others are doing it”.

Lamont noted that “That’s going to lead to some enforcement things. In the meantime, we enforce Connecticut laws.”

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Connecticut Democratic Party Makes Marijuana Legalization, Release of Nonviolent Drug Offenders, Party Platforms

The Connecticut Democratic Party has passed a resolution making the legalization of marijuana – and the prison release of nonviolent drug offenders – an official party platform.

The Connecticut Democratic Party logo.

At the Party’s annual convention last week a majority of the over 1,900 delegates in attendance approved making marijuana legalization an official party platform (one of around 30).

The platform reads: “The time for legalization of Marijuana has come. Doing so will raise revenue, which can be used to benefit those suffering from the disease of addiction to prescription pain medications and other opioids.” The resolution states that “Connecticut should follow “Best Practice” for other states to detect and prevent impaired driving. However, this is not enough. We must immediately move towards early release of non-violent drug offenders, starting with the incaracated for Marijuana offenses.”

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Connecticut Lawmakers Include Marijuana Legalization in Budget Bill

The legalization of marijuana has been included as part of a larger budget bill released today by Connecticut Democrats.

Democratic leaders have included marijuana legalization in a large budget bill released today. Supporters of the provision – which includes Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney (D) –  say it will bring in much-needed tax revenue to the state, which is facing a projected budget gap of roughly $5 billion.

Although the provision is being championed by Democrats, legalization also has Republican support, including Representative Melissa Ziobron, ranking House Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.

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Connecticut Senate President Files Bill to Legalize Cannabis, Separate Measure Filed in House

Connecticut Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) has filed a bill to legalize cannabis. A separate bill that would also legalize cannabis has been filed in the state’s House of Representatives.

Connecticut map outline with state seal.

Senate Bill 11 would allow those 21 and older to legally possess and use cannabis. Modeled after Colorado’s Amendment 64, it would establish a system of regulated and taxed cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. The measure is in the Joint Committee on Judiciary.

“I would urge us to adopt that broad based legalization and also have a tax structure similar to Colorado which generates significant revenue for the state General Fund,” says Looney.

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Connecticut Supreme Court Reinstates State Employee Caught Smoking Marijuana On The Job

By Daniel Fisher, Forbes.com

smoking marijuana on the jobWho says arbitration is stacked against the little guy? The Connecticut Supreme Court this week reversed a lower court and reinstated a state employee who’d been fired for smoking marijuana on the job, siding with his union and an arbitrator who said the punishment was too harsh — even though the employee had access to heavy vehicles and performed maintenance work on building roofs.

The decision in State of Connecticut v. Conn. Employees Union Independent says police found University of Connecticut Health Center worker Gregory Linhoff in a UConn van parked in a “secluded area” at 5:30 p.m., smoking from a glass pipe. He told police he was taking a short break from work and lit up the pipe to eliminate “smelly” pot residue. He was arrested and police found two bags with three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in his pockets. Criminal charges were later dismissed, but UConn fired him, citing his access to dangerous vehicles, the unsupervised nature of his work maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment in high places, and, well, the fact that smoking pot is illegal and doing it on state time in a state-owned van is a firing offense.

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Connecticut Marijuana Possession Laws

Connecticut Marijuana Possession Laws:

 

Less than 1/2 oz (first offense)Civil PenaltyIncarceration: N/AFine: $150
Less than 1/2 oz (subsequent offense)Civil PenaltyIncarceration: N/AFine: $500
1/2 – less than 4 oz (first offense)MisdemeanorIncarceration: 1 yearFine: $1,000
1/2 – less than 4 oz (subsequent offense)FelonyIncarceration: 5 yearsFine: $3,000
4 oz or more (first offense)FelonyIncarceration: 5 yearsFine: $2,000
4 oz or more (subsequent offense)FelonyIncarceration: 10 yearsFine: $5,000

 

connecticut marijuana possession laws

For further information on Connecticut’s marijuana laws – including penalties for distribution and cultivation – click here. For recent updates to Connecticut’s marijuana possession laws and other Connecticut-related stories, click here.

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Past Cannabis Convictions Can Be Erased

The Connecticutgavel Supreme Court has ruled that those convicted of past cannabis possession misdemeanors can have the charges erased from their record because the state decriminalized the substance in 2011. The ruling was unanimous, 7 to 0.

The court ruled in favor of Nicholas Menditto, overturning the ruling of a state Appellate Court which decided that Menditto couldn’t have his two cannabis possession convictions from 2009 removed from his record, despite the offenses no longer being criminal.

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Poll: More Than Six In Ten Connecticut Voters Say Legalize Cannabis

By Paul Armentano, NORML

More thanusepicture six out of ten Connecticut voters favor legalizing marijuana use by adults, according to statewide polling conducted by Quinnipiac University.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they favored permitting adults to legally possess personal use quantities of cannabis. Only 34 percent of voters opposed this idea.

Read morePoll: More Than Six In Ten Connecticut Voters Say Legalize Cannabis