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Connecticut: Regulators approve medical cannabis expansion

Jun 03, 2020

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Good news! On Tuesday, the Connecticut Legislative Regulations Review Committee approved allowing medical cannabis to treat chronic pain — although it narrowly defined the term. The Board of Physicians recommended adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition on September 27, 2019. Previously, Connecticut was the only state medical marijuana program that did not permit patients to treat chronic pain with medical marijuana.

The revision permits medical marijuana to be recommended for adults with “chronic pain of at least six months duration associated with a specific underlying chronic condition refractory to other treatment intervention.” Unfortunately, that narrow definition means physicians can only recommend cannabis to patients who have sought treatment for their chronic pain for at least six months and whose pain has been resistant to other treatments.

The committee also approved the use of medical marijuana to treat Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an inherited disorder that weakens the body’s connective tissue and leads to weakened blood vessels and organs.

While these revisions undoubtedly expand patients’ ability to use medical marijuana to treat their aliments, Connecticut will have one of the most restrictive chronic pain provisions in the country. Patients will have to suffer for months before trying cannabis and will first be steered to far more dangerous medications.

Earlier this year, a bill to allow any adult, 21 or older, to use cannabis stalled due to a COVID-related closure of the capitol. It’s our hope that the Connecticut Legislature takes up the issue of adult-use cannabis in a special session this year or during the 2021 regular session. Many individuals who suffer from conditions that can be treated with marijuana aren’t able to access medical marijuana cards.

Please join us by writing Gov. Ned Lamont to urge him to prioritize legalization. You can go the extra mile by spreading the word to others, calling his office at 860-566-4840, or making an appeal on Twitter.

We wish you and your loved ones well and thank you for your continued support.