Pubdate: Wed, 27 Mar 2013
Source: Middletown Press, The (CT)
Copyright: 2013 The Middletown Press
Author: Christine Stuart
Page: A10


The Regulations Review Committee postponed action Tuesday on changing
marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug as it prepares to
legalize the drug for medical purposes.

Approving the regulation is one step toward legalization, but some
members of the committee felt they didn't have enough information to
take a vote so it was postponed until next month.

Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said he's concerned about
approving a regulation that would put Connecticut at odds with federal
laws and regulations regarding marijuana.

"I'm still not convinced we are federally pre-empted, "Candelora

Last year, in the middle of the legislative debate on the issue U.S.
Attorney David Fe in wrote Sens. Michael McLachlan and Toni Boucher to
tell them that "Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and, as such, growing, distributing,
and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a
federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law."

But the Department of Consumer Protection tried to reassure Candelora
and the committee that by approving this "ministerial" act, they were
in compliance.

"It is a common occurrence to have our schedule fall outside the
federal schedule," Gary Berner, of the Department of Consumer
Protection, told the committee. From bath salts to salvia and
synthetic marijuana, there are drugs Connecticut considers Schedule I
drugs that haven't been fully adopted yet by the federal government.

"There continue to be inconsistencies," Berner said.

As far as changing the status of marijuana in Connecticut, "We feel
and the Attorney General has certified that there is no conflict with
federal law or regulation," Berner said.

In addition to changing the classification of marijuana, the
Department of Consumer Protection is getting ready to open up public
comment on regulations for the licensing, growing, and distribution of
the drug.

While that system is being developed, patients with a doctor's
certification can apply for a temporary certificate from the Consumer
Protection Department to avoid being fined for possession of small
amounts of cannabis.

Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein said
about 400 people have applied for the certification and 280 have
completed the process and received their cards. The process to
register for a card opened up on Oct. 1.

Candelora said he's still concerned that while the change in
classification of the drug may seem like a small matter, it's the
beginning of the process that will allow for marijuana to be
cultivated and grown in the state.

"We should have all our questions answered before we vote," Candelora

The committee rejected the matter "without prejudice" by a voice vote,
and planned to include it on their agenda next month.
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