On October 1st, 2012, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection began taking applications from people who wanted to register as medical marijuana patients. Once approved, those patients will be able to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, as long as they have a medical marijuana card. And, according to state officials, patients should have somewhere to legally purchase medical cannabis by the end of the year.
“We’ve been working as quickly as possible to get these regulations out there and get them in a form where they can approved so we can fulfill the full promise of the program, which is to make this product available to those who are truly sick,” William M. Rubenstein, the state’s consumer protection commissioner, said recently. “The end of this year is doable, but optimistic. It may spill over into 2014.”
Until then medical marijuana patients can posses cannabis, but the actual purchasing of it on the black market is still illegal. The state legislature originally passed An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana in May 2012.
The Department of Consumer Protection has drafted a proposed set of rules for medical marijuana dispensaries that is over 70 pages long. It covers everything from the containers which the medicine will be sold in – they must be opaque and have childproof caps – to the clothing that dispensary workers will be permitted to wear – no pockets allowed.
Wanting a more restrictive approach than states like California and Colorado, CT officials spent months researching other states and how they are implementing dispensaries. “Connecticut has really taken the lead here in terms of treating medical marijuana as a pharmaceutical,” Rubenstein said. “I think Connecticut was at an advantage because it had more time to take a thoughtful look at medical marijuana as a possibility and therefore allowed it to recognize that this really is a pharmaceutical product that should be treated like other pharmaceutical products.”
Many would argue cannabis is safer and less addictive than a good many pharmaceuticals now on the market, but the notion of treating medical marijuana as medicine is a positive one; although not a common one yet. Many states still treat medical marijuana as something that needs to be hidden away.
Marijuana has many uses, and many of them are medical. Hopefully sick people in Connecticut will have a safe and reliable system of distribution for their medicine of choice soon. This is a great need in every state, and the need gets greater every day.
And patients need more than an ability to posses, or even grow (although growing is very important too), they need an ability to go to a safe place and purchase their medicine, just like non-medical marijuana patients do.
Why is that too much to ask for so many?
- Joe Klare