NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The new recreational marijuana law in Connecticut is now in effect. New Haven leaders are laying out the parameters on what we should know about the law.
Mayor Justin Elicker stood side-by-side with his health director, Maritza Bond, and Acting Police Chief Renee Dominguez Wednesday to lay out what the new law will look like in the Elm City from a health and legal perspective.
In terms of where you can and cannot smoke pot, the rule of thumb is, “If you can’t smoke cigarettes, you can’t smoke marijuana there as well,” the mayor explained.
Elicker says the rules that apply to cigarette smokers will not apply to pot smokers when it comes to where you can light up.
“In addition, paraphernalia, the possession of paraphernalia such as pipes or bongs, are legal now, as well.”
But where is it legal to smoke weed in New Haven?
Where you cannot:
Restaurants, school grounds, bars, dorms at private and public schools, playgrounds, and in areas within 25 feet of public buildings.
In a car if the key is in the ignition and running, even as a passenger.
Also included is the New Haven Green, where smoking of any kind is illegal. It is not city property. It is its own entity, controlled by a group of proprietors. They voted years ago to eliminate smoking on the green.
Where you can:
A place you can smoke, however, is your own private property. If you are a renter you’d be at the landlord’s mercy on that allowance.
Only if the car is parked and the keys are not in the ignition, you can smoke in your car.
Driving while high is just as bad a drunk driving, and it is illegal. So is holding more than an ounce and a half of pot, or having more than 5 ounces in a locked container in the trunk of your car.
Acting Police Chief Dominguez broke down how enforcement will look with marijuana infractions that overstep what will now be legal.
“21 and up marijuana on your person is legal. One and a half to five ounces on your first offense is a $100 fine, the second offense is a $250 infraction. If it’s over five ounces, the first offense is a $500 infraction and the second offense is a Class C-misdemeanor.”
Officials hoping residents remember to simply be courteous of others. “The most important thing is that people are respectful,” Mayor Elicker added.
Now, there was an amendment in the new legislation that requires cities and towns with more than 50,000 residents to designate a public outdoor area where pot could be consumed. However, Elicker said because there is no standing prohibition in New Haven on marijuana, the city is not required to make that accommodation, so people can smoke where it’s legal to do so.