Last Update: October 14, 2014
Strong poll numbers show Connecticut’s support for marijuana policy reform
An important new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that a majority of voters in Connecticut now support legalizing cannabis for adults. Fifty-two percent of all voters, and 80% of voters under 30 years old, support legalizing the possession of personal use amounts of marijuana for adults. Voters support access to medical marijuana by wide margins — fully 90% of all voters support the medical marijuana program in Connecticut. Ask your legislators to support legalizing marijuana and regulating it similarly to alcohol.
Meanwhile, voters support access to medical marijuana by wide margins — fully 90% of all voters support the medical marijuana program in Connecticut. Connecticut’s medical marijuana program was approved in 2012 and is now in the final stages of implementation. The state recently issued six licenses for dispensaries and four cultivation center licenses. Unfortunately, many dispensaries are finding it difficult to establish a foothold, despite the finding in the Quinnipiac poll that showed over two-thirds of voters would support having a dispensary in their town or city. Whether it is through zoning limitations, moratoriums on local business licenses, or the need to be managed by pharmacists, ongoing challenges have limited the roll out of the new regulated dispensary system. Nonetheless, officials estimate the program will begin operating during the summer months as businesses continue to secure locations and prepare to meet the needs of patients around the Constitution State.
As of April, Connecticut had 1,990 patients, up nearly 50% from November of last year. That number will no doubt increase further once regular and safe access is made available to residents in the Constitution State. For updates issued by the Department of Consumer Protection, visit their website, or sign up for email alerts here.
Connecticut one of 19 states to have decriminalized marijuana possession
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. 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. Most importantly, though, those accused of being in possession are not saddled with a criminal record, which can mark a person for life. 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, penalties still exist for adults in possession of a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. Data reported to the FBI by state law enforcement shows that in 2012, 85% of all marijuana-related arrests or citations were for possession. During the same period, over 76% of all reported rapes, and 85% of all burglaries, including home invasions, went unsolved. Law enforcement should focus its resources and time on serious crime instead of pursuing people in possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Please ask your legislators to take marijuana off the criminal market, to legalize it for adults, and to tax and regulate it similarly to alcohol.
You can stay up to date on all the latest news and information in Connecticut by subscribing to MPP’s free email alerts.