July 5th, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director 

Democrat Gov. Dan Malloy signed legislation into law on Thursday, June 30 ‘decriminalizing’ the possession of small, personal use amounts of marijuana by adults. The new law, Senate Bill 1014took effect on Friday, July 1.

Senate Bill 1014 reduces the penalties for the adult possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a non-criminal infraction, punishable by a $150 fine, no arrest or jail time, and no criminal record. The new law similarly reduces penalties for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Connecticut’s new law is similar to the existing ‘decriminalization’ laws in CaliforniaColoradoMaine,MassachusettsNebraskaNew York, and Oregon where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.

Five additional states — MinnesotaMississippiNevadaNorth Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska law imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

Lawmakers in California and Kentucky previously enacted laws this year reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

 

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