Location:
MARIJUANA;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


December 22, 2011

 

2011-R-0489

MARIJUANA PENALTIES

By: James Orlando, Associate Analyst

You asked about the penalties in Connecticut law for the possession or sale of marijuana, including penalties related to marijuana use with drug paraphernalia.

The tables below describe the penalties for the marijuana-related offenses you described. PA 11-71 made changes involving penalties for certain marijuana offenses, including decriminalizing (1) the possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana and (2) specified paraphernalia-related acts involving less than one-half ounce.

In addition to the fines or criminal penalties described below, the law imposes other restrictions on people who are convicted of marijuana possession or other specified drug crimes. For example, such people may be denied licensure for a family day care home (CGS 19a-87e) and are prohibited from obtaining licensure in other areas, such as bail enforcement (CGS 29-152f). Under PA 11-71, these restrictions do not apply to people convicted of possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana.

The tables below only describe penalties that apply to marijuana or other cannabis-type substances, although in some cases the penalties are identical for offenses involving other controlled substances. Please see the statutes for a complete description of the offenses and penalties.

Table 1: Marijuana Possession

Description of Offense

Authorized Penalties

Possession of less than one-half ounce of cannabis-type substance

Cite: PA 11-71

First offense: $150 fine

Subsequent offenses: $200 to $500 fine (three-time violaters must attend drug education, at their own expense)

Violaters follow the procedures the law sets for infractions (e.g., they can pay the fine by mail)

60-day suspension of the driver's license or nonresident operating privileges of anyone under age 21 who is convicted of a violation (if the person does not have a license, he or she is ineligible for one for 150 days after meeting all licensing requirements)

Burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence (rather than beyond a reasonable doubt)

Possession of at least one-half ounce but less than 4 oz. of cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-279(c), as amended by PA 11-71

First offense: up to 1-year prison term, up to a $1,000 fine, or both

Subsequent offenses: up to 5-year prison term, up to a $3,000 fine, or both

Alternative sentence for subsequent offense: up to 3-year indeterminate prison term with conditional release by correction commissioner (CGS 21a-279(e))

*Mandatory 2-year prison sentence running consecutively to prison term imposed for underlying offense if possession within 1,500 feet of (1) an elementary or secondary school by someone who is not attending the school or (2) a licensed day care center (CGS 21a-279(d))

Possession of at least 4 oz. of cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-279(b)

First offense: up to 5-year prison term, up to a $2,000 fine, or both

Subsequent offenses: up to 10-year prison term, up to a $5,000 fine, or both

Alternative sentence: up to 3-year indeterminate prison term with conditional release by correction commissioner (CGS 21a-279(e))

*Mandatory 2-year prison sentence running consecutively to prison term imposed for underlying offense if possession within 1,500 feet of (1) an elementary or secondary school by someone who is not attending the school or (2) a licensed day care center (CGS 21a-279(d))

*A judge may depart from this mandatory minimum sentence under certain circumstances

Table 2: Sale or Possession with Intent to Sell

Description of Offense

Authorized Penalties

Manufactures, distributes, sells, prescribes, dispenses, compounds, transports with intent to sell or dispense, possesses with intent to sell or dispense, offers, or gives or administers to another person any amount of a cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-277(b)

First offense: up to seven years in prison, up to a $25,000 fine, or both

Subsequent offenses: Up to 15 years in prison, up to $100,000 fine, or both

Alternative sentence: up to 3-year indeterminate prison term with conditional release by correction commissioner (CGS 21a-277(d))

Mandatory 2-year prison term running consecutively to prison term imposed for violating the underlying crime if sale or other distribution is by non-addict adult to a minor at least two years younger (CGS 21a-278a(a))

Mandatory 3-year prison term running consecutively to any prison term imposed for violating the underlying crime if (1) offense is committed within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school, a licensed day care center, or a public housing project (CGS 21a-278a(b))* or (2) a minor is hired or otherwise used to make the sale (CGS 21a-278a(c))

Non-addict 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 at least 1 kilogram of a cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-278(b)

First offense: five to 20 years in prison

Subsequent offenses: 10 to 25 years in prison

Court cannot suspend the sentence below the mandatory minimum unless the offender was under age 18 or significantly mentally impaired at time of offense

Mandatory 2-year prison term running consecutively to prison term imposed for violating the underlying crime if sale or other distribution is by non-addict adult to a minor at least two years younger (CGS 21a-278a(a))

Mandatory 3-year prison term running consecutively to any prison term imposed for violating the underlying crime if (1) offense is committed within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school, a licensed day care center, or a public housing project (CGS 21a-278a(b))* or (2) a minor is hired or otherwise used to make the sale (CGS 21a-278a(c))

*A judge may depart from this mandatory minimum sentence under certain circumstances.

Table 3: Drug Paraphernalia

Description of Offense

Authorized Penalties

Drug paraphernalia used or possessed with intent to use to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, or to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the body less than one-half ounce of a cannabis-type substance; or

Deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, or to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the body less than one-half ounce of a cannabis-type substance

Cite: PA 11-71

Infraction (punishable by fines of between $35 and $90, plus a $20 or $35 surcharge and an additional fee based on the amount of the fine)

60-day suspension of the driver's license or nonresident operating privileges of anyone under age 21 who is convicted of a violation (if the person does not have a license, he or she is ineligible for one for 150 days after meeting all licensing requirements)

Burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence (rather than beyond a reasonable doubt)

Drug paraphernalia used or possessed with intent to use to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, or to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the body one-half ounce of more of a cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-267(a), as amended by PA 11-71

Class C misdemeanor (up to three months in prison, up to a $ 500 fine, or both)

*Mandatory 1-year prison sentence running consecutively to prison term imposed for underlying offense if committed within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school by someone who is not attending the school (CGS 21a-267(c))

Deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, or to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the body, one-half ounce or more of a cannabis-type substance

Cite: CGS 21a-267(b)

Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in prison, up to a $ 2,000 fine, or both)

*Mandatory 1-year prison sentence running consecutively to prison term imposed for underlying offense if committed within 1,500 feet of an elementary or secondary school by someone who is not attending the school (CGS 21a-267(c))

*A judge may depart from this mandatory minimum sentence under certain circumstances

Table 4: Drug Paraphernalia in Drug Factory

Description of Offense

Authorized Penalties

Knowing possession of drug paraphernalia in drug factory situation for unlawful mixing, compounding, or otherwise preparing any amount of a cannabis-type substance for purposes of violating drug laws

Cite: CGS 21a-277(c) (see CGS 21a-255(b))

First offense: up to two years in prison, up to $1,000 fine, or both

Subsequent offense: up to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, or both

Mandatory 3-year prison term running consecutively to any prison term imposed for violating the underlying crime if a minor is hired or otherwise used to commit offense (CGS 21a-278a(c))

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