CONNECTICUT, USA — Beginning Oct. 1, new laws or amendments to existing laws will be taking place in Connecticut regarding marijuana, safety, and employment of workers.
Growing marijuana plants
Those who have a medical marijuana license will be able to grow up to six plants in their home, three mature and three immature.
No more than twelve marijuana plants can be grown per household, according to the bill.
Recreational marijuana users must still wait until July 1, 2023, to grow their own plants. Retailers are not permitted at this time to sell marijuana products other than for medical patients. The sale of marijuana will begin in July 2022.
Where you can smoke marijuana
If you're looking to smoke marijuana in public, a new law goes into effect which prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any doorway or window or vent of a building or establishment.
Additionally, any city or town with over 50,000 residents can designate specific areas for smoking.
Ice cream truck safety
Beginning today, drivers who do not obey new traffic laws when driving near an ice cream truck will be subjected to fines up to $100.
A portion of the bill, named "Tristan's Law" took effect on July 1.
The law came to be after 10-year-old Trisan Barhorst of Wallingford was struck and killed by a car in Cheshire in the summer of 2020 while going out to buy ice cream from a truck.
The bill is meant to protect children in the course of buying ice cream from frozen dessert trucks by increasing the truck's visibility to other drivers, warning drivers that children may be present and limiting the location and conditions for vending.
These regulations include, but are not limited to:
Vehicles stopping ten feet from the front or rear of a frozen dessert truck when the flashing lights signaling a stop are on before passing the truck at a speed of five miles per hour or less and yielding to pedestrians.
Trucks having signal arms on the front and rear, flashing signal lights, and a convex mirror to prevent blind spots.
Drivers who do not obey the new traffic laws will first face an infraction, and then a fine if they do not obey a second time.
Trucks have until May 2022 to install the upgrades needed for safety.
Domestic violence law expanded
Beginning today, Connecticut's domestic violence law will also recognize non-violent and financial abuse as domestic.
Known as "Jennifer's Law", the bill was proposed by former State Sen. Alex Kasser, who said coercive control includes psychological abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and legal abuse.
The bill was initially introduced in response to the death of 42-year old Jennifer Magnano, the Terryville mother of three who was shot dead in 2007 on the front steps of her house in front of her children.
Her abusive husband, Scott Magnano had shot and killed her and then turned the gun on himself.
Jennifer Dulos' name was also added to the bill. Her sudden disappearance sparked a search that spanned to neighboring states and her estranged husband became the focal point of the investigation and was charged with murder by authorities. Fotis Dulos died by suicide in January 2020 and Jennifer has still not been found.
New pedestrian safety laws take effect in Connecticut. One law aims to improve communication between drivers and pedestrians.
It will allow pedestrians to let drivers know they are intending to cross by signaling with their hands. As the law stands now, pedestrians must step into the crosswalk for cars to yield. The new law allows them to stay safely on the sidewalk.
Under the new law, drivers also must yield to pedestrians if they move into the crosswalk entrance at all, including a part of their walking stick, wheelchair, their bike, or even their leashed dog.
A second new law prevents drivers or passengers from opening their doors in a way that hits or gets in the way of pedestrians or cyclists.
Drivers who do not yield to pedestrians under the new law can face a fine of $500.
Seat belts and car safety
The new law mandates that all people inside the car be belted, regardless if they are in the front or backseat.
Law enforcement can issue a fine for an unbelted passenger if the driver is pulled over for a primary offense such as speeding.
The new law is subject to secondary enforcement, meaning drivers can’t be pulled over just because there is an unbelted person in the back seat.
According to state officials, between 2017 to 2020, there were more than 12,589 injuries of rear seat occupants in Connecticut. During this same period, there were 61 fatalities.
Connecticut was one of the first states to pass a law requiring seat belts in the front seat more than 30 years ago, however, the law did not specify back seat passengers at the time.
Employers can't seek out your date of birth or graduation
Employers will not be allowed to request or require any prospective employee's age, date of birth, or other dates indicating age on the initial employment application.
The only exceptions will be based on occupational qualifications or to comply with state law.
The bill was passed to help with age discrimination in employment in the state.
The bill also says labor organizations cannot deny anyone membership rights, or exclude them, due to their age, race, religion, gender, or disabilities.
Recycling and bottle deposits for alcoholic 'nips'
Starting Oct. 1, various retailers must have special “reverse vending machines’' that accept empty containers so they can be recycled.
Also, retailers will be charging a 5 cent surcharge on "nips", small bottles of alcohol also known as airplane bottles. Officials said the money will help municipalities clean up the tiny bottles.
The bill also expands the list of drink containers requiring a deposit, to include hard seltzer and hard cider, plant water, juice, juice drinks, tea, coffee, kombucha, plant-infused beverages, sports and energy drinks. Beginning in 2024, the deposit will climb from 5 cents to 10 cents.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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