Tag Archives: Connecticut

Connecticut Makes Move to Expand Medical Marijuana Coverage

Recently, a petition to expand the list of qualifying conditions for Connecticut’s medical marijuana program was introduced to the Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians.connecticut

According to Yale Daily News:

Registered patients and medical representatives attended last Wednesday’s hearing in Hartford calling for four additional medical conditions to be legally treated through medical marijuana. Members of the public gave testimonies before the board petitioning for the recognition of each of the conditions — sickle cell disease, Tourette Syndrome, psoriasis arthritis and Post-Laminectomy Syndrome — a common issue following back surgery.

The meeting concluded with the proposal left unresolved, allowing for additional testimonies and materials to be submitted to the board before Dec. 12. Commissioner of Consumer Protection William Rubenstein said that the board’s next meeting in January will deliberate on the petitions and decide whether to add the conditions.

If the board approves these conditions, members must take further steps before the additions become formally recognized. Rubenstein noted that a letter of recommendation must be submitted by the board to the commissioner of Consumer Protection before another public hearing is held. The motion will be approved only after a regulations review by the general assembly, he said.

Having only just been implemented in September, Connecticut’s medical marijuana statute allows for members of the public to request other debilitating conditions be added to the original 11 eligible for medical marijuana. However, other states have similar policies that have already been amended to include additional medical maladies.

Now that Connecticut’s medical marijuana program is underway, the state’s lawmakers must approve the expansion of coverage so that patients with conditions that could be treated with the use of medical marijuana receive their medicine and symptomatic relief as well.

Connecticut Officials Hear Testimony on Medical Marijuana Regulations

Officials from Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), which has been charged with organizing the state’s medical marijuana program, heard compelling public testimony Monday morning as the department prepares to establish rules regarding dispensary operations.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a medical marijuana bill into law last May, and the state began accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses in October. Unfortunately, there are no dispensaries currently operating in the state, and it is illegal for patients to grow plants for personal use.

Tracey Fanning
Tracey Gamer Fanning

This loophole has left patients like Tracey Gamer Fanning in an unnerving legal gray-zone. Tracey was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2006. The myriad medication she was prescribed left her bedridden and unable to function. This all changed when her doctor recommend she try marijuana. “It gave me my life back,” she told CBS.

Despite the impact it’s had on Tracey’s cancer, every time she uses the drug she is breaking the law. Dedicating her limited time to medical-marijuana advocacy, Tracey lined up to speak at Monday’s hearing.

I want the politicians to see my face, the face of a mother from West Hartford who is just grateful to be at the dinner table in the evening instead of in bed, of someone who is so thankful to be part of her children’s lives, of someone who lost an advertising career but gained a life mission.

The DCP has composed a 70-page draft of regulations that mimics the state system that controls the distribution of such pharmaceuticals as OxyContin.

MPP’s Director of State Policies, Karen O’Keefe, expressed concerns over the expense of the system of production and distribution. “The provision that requires $2 million in an escrow for producers, that’s a huge sum of money,” Karen stated. “It could edge out the little guy.” MPP has submitted suggested changes to the state regulations.

The DCP will accept written comments until Friday.

Top 10 Marijuana Victories of 2012

This past year was undeniably the most productive 365-day period in the history of the marijuana policy reform movement. There were a number of significant accomplishments, but here is the Marijuana Policy Project’s list of the “Top 10 Marijuana Victories of 2012.” As with our previous annual lists, it includes neither important scientific developments nor important international developments. Rather, this list focuses on the biggest marijuana-related policy accomplishments in the U.S. in the last year.

To read the full list, please visit The Huffington Post.

 

Gov. Malloy Signs Connecticut Medical Marijuana Bill!

Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed HB 5389, officially making Connecticut the 17th medical marijuana state!

The bulk of the bill will go into effect on October 1, 2012. After that, qualifying patients will be able to obtain temporary registrations to possess marijuana.

To qualify, a patient must have a doctor’s written certification and one of the following conditions: glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing spasms, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, or a condition added by the Department of Consumer Protection.

HB 5389 provides for access through licensed dispensaries, which only pharmacists will be allowed to file applications for. Dispensaries may obtain marijuana from licensed producers, who will pay an application fee of at least $25,000.

Click here to read MPP’s summary of the new law.

This victory follows years of hard work from several organizations, seriously ill patients, legislators, and advocates. Congratulations to everyone who made it possible!

Connecticut Legislature Decriminalizes Marijuana

The good news just keeps on coming. The Connecticut House of Representatives just passed a bill to decriminalize possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana! The Senate passed the bill over the weekend, so it now heads to the desk of Governor Dan Malloy who is sure to sign it. Malloy has been a strong supporter of decriminalization and deserves much of the credit for this bill passing.

With today’s vote, the penalty for possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana will drop from a misdemeanor to a civil violation. First offense possession of a small amount of marijuana, or paraphernalia intended for it, will be punishable by a $150 fine, with penalties escalating to $200-500 for a second offense, and mandatory treatment for a third offense. Most importantly, violators will be cited rather than arrested and will not be saddled with a criminal record. Connecticut is the 14th state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, joining neighboring Massachusetts, which became the 13th state when voters passed an initiative written and sponsored by MPP’s ballot committee in 2008.

Congratulations to Lorenzo Jones and the staff of A Better Way Foundation, and the Drug Policy Alliance, who together led the lobbying effort to pass SB 1014. Also, thanks and congratulations to our members in Connecticut who made calls and sent emails to their legislators in support of this common-sense reform.

Decriminalization is not the magic solution that solves all our problems, but it is a step in the right direction. During the floor debate it was noted that 20 people spent time in a Connecticut jail this year just for possession of a small amount of marijuana and, shockingly, another 10,000-12,000 were arrested for the same. That means, thanks to this bill, thousands of otherwise law-abiding people who simply choose to use a substance safer than alcohol will not be arrested and will not receive criminal records.

Makes sense to me.