Who in CT is being cited for marijuana possession and by whom?

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After Connecticut decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2011, arrests from police dipped.

In 2011, about 5,000 citations were issued. In the next year arrests fell to just over 3,000. That number grew to 3,500 in 2013— the most recent year for which data is available.

Teenagers and minorities were cited at a higher rate, according to a Trend CT analysis of Connecticut marijuana arrests data submitted by police departments to the National Incident-Based Reporting System and pulled from a public records request at Muckrock.com.

Note: Some towns like Hartford and New Britain are not listed in the NIBRS data, so we will revisit this analysis in the near future using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data.

If someone is caught in Connecticut with less than a half ounce of marijuana, police will confiscate the drug and issue a $150 fine. Tickets for subsequent offenses range from $200 to $500 and the violator pays the fine through the mail like a speeding ticket.

Before the bill, the possession of any amount of marijuana in Connecticut could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a criminal record on the first offense.

Marijuana citations by non-town police departments
Between 2011 and 2014.
Department Total citations
Connecticut State Police 1,480
UConn Police Department 125
Willimantic Police Department 111
Groton City Police Department 42
E.C.S.U. Police Department 14
S.C.S.U. Police Department 13
C.C.S.U. Police Department 10
UConn Health Center 2
Capitol Police Department 1
National Incident-Based Reporting System

About 14 percent of those cited were women and 86 percent men.

The median age for those cited was 22.

Teenagers were most-often cited by police for marijuana use. In particular, 19-year-olds were ticketed the most – 1,060 between 2011 and 2014.

Most police departments reflected the state trend of decreasing marijuana citations over time.

Some of the exceptions included police departments in Ansonia, East Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk and Stamford.

In all but one town (Suffield), black people were cited for marijuana at a higher rate than their proportion of the population in that town.

Nearly half of all marijuana citations in New Canaan were given to black people though they make up about 1 percent of the town’s population.

Only in six out of 65 towns were white people given marijuana citations at a higher rate than their proportion of the town’s population.

marijuana citations by race

Check our work: The GitHub repository containing our work is available here. We encourage you to look over our calculations and expand upon our analysis.

What do you think?

  • Hillary Desideraggio

    Why isn’t New Britain listed?

    • Andrew Ba Tran

      Hm, looks like a few town departments weren’t listed in the National Incident-Based Reporting System. I’ll revisit this analysis again using the FBI’s UCR data soon.

  • Max

    “Minorities tend to be cited disproportionately to the proportion of the population of the towns they live in.”

    – They mention this but not the fact that 86% of the citations are to men?