Residents of Connecticut Say “Weed Like to See Some Change
Marijuana legalization has been blazing through New England states in recent years, and could be coming to Connecticut soon. Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont have passed measures approving recreational cannabis, while Rhode Island and New Jersey are currently considering legislation to follow in suit. As a result, Connecticut is facing pressure from these neighboring states and in-state voters to reevaluate current marijuana policies. Hashing out issues surrounding marijuana on the national level has proven to be difficult for the past several decades, however Americans increasingly favor legalization. Pew Research Center data from 2016 indicates that 57% of adults in this country support legalization efforts. In Connecticut specifically, as of the fall of 2017, a Sacred Heart University poll revealed that 71% of those surveyed support the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.
A bill in Connecticut is currently being proposed which would permit individuals 21 and older to have possession of one ounce of marijuana. The legalization measure also includes considerations of selling and cultivation, as well as corresponding regulation plans. Issues of taxation are often brought up in the ongoing marijuana debates across the country. This proposal in Connecticut would include taxation rights on marijuana sold in the state.
As it stands now, possession of marijuana for personal use ranges from a civil penalty to a misdemeanor depending on the amount of substance, with fines spanning between $150 and $2,000. Incarceration is applicable to amounts greater than 0.5 ounces. In terms of distribution or cultivation, punishment is significantly more severe. All offenses are penalized as felonies. Incarceration length ranges from 7-25 years. Maximum fines are between $25,000 and $100,000. An additional 3 years of incarceration is applied if distribution or cultivation occurs “within 1,500 feet of an elementary/middle school, public housing project, or daycare center,” according to the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization,