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Medical vs. recreational: Understanding Connecticut marijuana law

The subject of marijuana is discussed frequently in this country. Many states, including Connecticut, have decriminalized some cannabis use. This doesn't mean that there aren't potential consequences for having marijuana on your person.

If you are found to be in possession of marijuana, you may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. In some cases, you can face incarceration if you are convicted. Here are some things you should know about marijuana in Connecticut.

Medical marijuana

In 2012, Connecticut passed legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana. There are approximately 11 health conditions that can qualify a patient for the legal use of cannabis. If you are a Connecticut resident being treated by a licensed physician for one of the qualifying conditions, you must register with the state to apply for a medical marijuana certificate.

You can only purchase marijuana from a dispensary that is licensed by the state. Growers who want to cultivate marijuana must meet pharmaceutical factory standards. These rules can make it difficult for patients to find a local dispensary.

Recreational marijuana: Amounts and penalties

In Connecticut, possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana doesn't usually lead to jail time. For a first offense, you face a maximum fine of $150. Subsequent offenses have a $500 maximum fine.

People who possess between a half ounce and four ounces face one year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine on a first offense or five years in prison and a $3,000 fine on a subsequent conviction.

If you are caught with more than four ounces of cannabis, you face five years and a $2,000 fine the first time or 10 years and $5,000 on subsequent offenses.

A person who is less than 21 years old can also face a driver's license suspension of 60 days if they are found to be in possession of marijuana.

How to deal with drug charges

It is important to remember that you don't have to speak to any law enforcement officer about your case, without having your attorney present. Your civil rights do apply in these cases, so make sure that you are paying attention for potential violations.

You should learn about the potential defense strategies in your case, especially if you are facing serious penalties. The strategy you use will depend on the circumstances of the case. Taking the time to review each option with your lawyer can help you start formulating a plan. Consider how the options will impact your future before you make any decision.

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