(Last update: February 6, 2020)
Medical Marijuana: Yes
Recreational Marijuana: No
In-Home Cultivation: -
Governor and legislative leaders will push to end cannabis prohibition in 2020
In March and April 2019, three legislative committees advanced bills to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis, but the legislature adjourned on June 5 without bringing them to a vote.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Ned Lamont have made it clear that they intend to make a stronger push for legalization in 2020. In January, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney said the issue is “a reality we should have dealt with already.”
During Gov. Ned Lamont’s State of the State address on February 5, he remarked, “We just marked the 100th anniversary of prohibition. How did that work out?”
Gov. Lamont called for a coordinated regional approach to marijuana regulation to protect public heath and to “right the wrongs of a war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted our minority communities.” His budget includes new staff to prepare for legal sales in 2022. A summary of Gov. Lamont's proposed cannabis regulation bill is available here.
A new January 2020 poll published by GQR confirmed, once again, that Connecticut residents strongly support legalizing cannabis, with 65 percent responding in favor.
Connecticut’s medical marijuana program was originally enacted on June 1, 2012. The program protects patients and caregivers from arrest and prosecution if they have a valid registration card and if the medical marijuana was obtained from the specific dispensary where the patient is registered.
In 2016, both regulators and lawmakers expanded Connecticut’s medical marijuana program.
In January 2016, the Department of Consumer Protection approved three additional dispensaries. In December 2018, DCP approved nine more dispensaries, bringing the statewide total to 18.
For more information about the program, including a current list of qualifying conditions and symptoms, click here.
Connecticut’s law remains more limited than most other medical marijuana states’ laws. There are several areas of possible improvement, including adding chronic pain.
In September 2019, Connecticut’s Board of Physicians recommended approving chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program, but that addition has not yet received final approval from the legislature’s Regulations Review Committee.
Since 2011, possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana has been a civil violation in Connecticut, punishable by a 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.
Although Connecticut has improved its marijuana laws in recent years, adults are still being punished for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol, while most crimes with victims go unsolved.