Pubdate: Sun, 12 Oct 2014
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2014 New Haven Register
Author: Ed Stannard


Marijuana activists in Connecticut are asking the Department of
Consumer Protection to offer whole cannabis buds in the state's
medical marijuana program, rather than groundup plants.

Peter Mould of North Haven is executive director of Connecticut NORML,
which advocates for reform of marijuana laws. He and others claim that
homogenizing the plant, which the state requires, results in "the
degradation of the cannabinoids, the actual essential oils that are in
the flower," Mould said.

Mould has posted a petition at (search for "medical
marijuana CT"), which states: "We request that you please change your
regulations to allow producers to sell the bud-form to dispensaries,
in order to enable patients to have their high-quality medicine."

"The patient community is suffering because of this," Mould

Medical marijuana became available in Connecticut in September,
although not all of the four growing facilities have product to
distribute yet. It requires that the marijuana be tested by a lab and
packaged like a traditional medicine. Patients can buy it through any
of six dispensaries if they suffer from one of 11 conditions,
including glaucoma, cancer and Crohn's disease.

But Mould called the final product basically "ground-up dust" and
said, "I completely understand why they're trying to do it, but it
doesn't make sense with cannabis." He said he is registered to buy
medical marijuana for back injuries. "I suffer from spasms every day
of my life," he said.

"It was deplorable," Mould said of the medical marijuana. "I vaporize
and it's deplorable."

Colin Souney of Guilford, who suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder, agreed with Mould that ground-up marijuana "deteriorates.
It's just like the vegetable sitting in the grocery store," which
loses its nutrients if chopped up.

He said of the state-controlled product: "The effect is short, the
feeling in your mouth is not pleasant and, unfortunately, if you
consume it two or three days in a row it no longer has an effect,"
Souney said.

Another issue is price. Twenty dollars per gram, which is the price at
Bluepoint Wellness of Connecticut in Branford, "is an outrageous
price," Souney said.

Nick Tamborrino, CEO of Bluepoint Wellness, declined to

Marghie Giuliano, executive vice president of the Connecticut
Pharmacists Association, said it's too early in the program, with just
one growing facility producing cannabis, to judge the effectiveness of
the state's product.

"There's a gap in clinical evidence," Giuliano said. "The purpose of
the medical marijuana program in Connecticut is really to make sure
the product is safe." She said producers and dispensaries will
cooperate in studies of the homogenized marijuana.

Most of the 22 other states, plus the District of Columbia, that have
approved medical marijuana allow residents to grow their own, in
limited quantities. Michelle Seagull, deputy commissioner of the DCP,
said the department decided to use a medical model for marijuana
rather than just regulating the way marijuana has traditionally been
grown and sold.

"We require that the marijuana in Connecticut be lab-tested and that
it be listed with the active ingredients," she said. Seagull said buds
can have different levels of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, "even
within a single plant."

Besides giving patients a consistent product, homogenization is
necessary, Seagull said, because different levels of active
ingredients are more effective on some conditions than on others.

"I can't speak to whether it actually reduces potency and, if so, how
much," Seagull said. "If you're a patient, there are going to be
certain active ingredient levels you need," which will be listed on
the label, she said.

Seagull said the petition has not been presented to the DCP yet but
there are no plans to change the medical marijuana program. "I believe
the way we're doing it is the appropriate medical model," she said.
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