|Photo: a public defender
|If you have less than half an ounce of weed, you’ll get a fine, much as with a traffic ticket, after July 1.
Connecticut’s new medical marijuana decriminalization law takes effect on July 1. Current laws remain in effect through the end of June, which means you could possibly still get arrested and thrown in jail for any amount of pot.
The decrim law only applies to amounts under half an ounce, reports Sam Tracy at the Hartford Advocate. While the bill started out with a one-ounce limit, that got lowered to half an ounce during the legislative process.
“And to get real technical about it, it’s amounts under half 1/2 an ounce, meaning if you have exactly .5 ounces on you, you can still get arrested,” Tracy writes. “Word is, police are now going to have certified scales in their cars, and will be measuring the amounts they confiscate to decide if it’s a ticket or an arrest.”
Don’t doubt for a second that there are lots of cops out there in Connecticut (and everywhere else) who are perfectly willing to bust your ass for exactly half an ounce, obeying the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law.
If you’re caught with under half an ounce in Connecticut after July 1:
• The police will confiscate your cannabis.
• You’ll get a ticket. First offense is $150, and after that they go up to from $200 to $500. You can pay the ticket by mail, just like a speeding ticket. It will be tough to fight a pot ticket in court, since the law also lowered the amount of evidence needed to decide you’re guilty.
• If you get caught — even with under a half-ounce — three times, you’ll have to go to a mandatory “drug treatment program,” at your own expense. I know, I know: Moronic waste of your time and money! If you want better laws, elect better politicians.
• If you’re under 21, your driver’s license will be suspended for 60 days. If you don’t already have a license, you’ll have to wait 150 days until you’ve completed all the requirements to get one.
• If you’re under 18, you’ll be referred to juvenile justice authorities, and your parents will be notified. Yes, your parents will know if you get ticketed for pot.
• Paraphernalia is decriminalized too, as long as you have less than half an ounce of pot on you. If you have more pot than that, you can still face additional criminal charges for papers, a pipe, or anything else some dimwit cop considers “paraphernalia” — if he can get a prosecutor to go along with him.
If you’d like to read Connecticut’s new marijuana decrim law for yourself, click here [PDF].