The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill decriminalizing possession of marijuana. Governor Malloy has indicated his support, and will sign the bill into law.
The Wilton Bulletin reports that under the new law, possession of marijuana under half an ounce will only be a civil infraction, and not a criminal misdemeanor charge. The penalty will be a fine of $150 for a first offense, and up to $500 for a 2nd or subsequent possession offense.
However the law is different for those under 21 years old. Similar to alcohol possession, there is a mandatory 60 day driver’s license loss for possession of pot, and a required drug education program.
Under the present law, marijuana possession is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1000 fine for possession of under 4oz. However, Attorney Erin Field is quoted as saying that such penalties are virtually never enforced. Typically, under the old (current) law, a deal would be worked out and a person would pay $700-800 for a drug treatment program, after which they would have their record cleared. So no permanent criminal record typically occurs.
Thirteen other states have decriminalized possession of marijuana, including Massachusetts and New York.
Previously: CT Marijuana decriminalization passes legislature, awaits governor’s signature.