Connecticut Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Connecticut?
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Connecticut Law: 

StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD
ConnecticutNo Yes Yes 

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Connecticut?

No. Recreational cannabis is currently illegal in Connecticut. Yet, the outlook for potential legalization in the coming years is positive. Connecticut has presently decriminalized cannabis possession of a small amount (less than ½ oz.) 

The state’s cannabis advocates feel hopeful there will be regulation by 2022. Just this month, Connecticut’s Governor Lamont proposed legalization in his budget address. 

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Connecticut?

Yes. Medical marijuana in Connecticut became legal in 2012 with the signing of House Bill 5389

Under this bill, registered patients and caregivers may purchase at most 2.5 oz per month of medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. MMJ products accepted for treatment include flower, edibles, concentrates, topicals, and tinctures. Patients are responsible for state and local sales taxes at the time of purchase.

Are CBD products legal in Connecticut? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States; as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

What’s Connecticut’s medical marijuana sales tax? 

Patients are responsible for state (6.35%) and local sales taxes at the time of purchase. 

Are there any other Connecticut cannabis tax rates?

Yes. $3.50/gram

Is medical marijuana delivery legal in Connecticut?

Yes. But there are restrictions whereas, delivery is allowed from the primary caregiver to the patient only, not from the dispensary to the patient directly.

Connecticut’s Cannabis Timeline:

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth”.) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins”.

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs. 

2011: Governor Daniel Malloy signed legislation decriminalizing ½ oz or less of cannabis. 

2012: Connecticut House Bill 5389, Governor Malloy also signed this bill into law. Under Connecticut state law, minors and adults with a written certification from two doctors (and a statement of consent from the parental guardian of children) can get legal access to medical marijuana for patients with specific ailments. These patients can possess up to a month’s worth of supply and must always have their valid registration certificates on hand to avoid penalties.  

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

2018: A recreational cannabis bill was approved to be sent to the State General Assembly, but there has not been much movement since. 

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