Pubdate: Sat, 19 Mar 2016
Source: Middletown Press, The (CT)
Copyright: 2016 The Middletown Press
Author: Ed Stannard


New Dispensaries Expected to Open This Summer

The number of Connecticut's medical marijuana patients is likely to 
grow more quickly with the addition Monday of six new conditions that 
can be treated with cannabis.

"I would expect there would be additional people," said state 
Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris on Tuesday. "We're 
pleased that more people with serious diseases will have access to 
medicine that can help them with pain, with symptoms and their 
underlying disease conditions."

The new conditions eligible for the program are sickle cell disease, 
postlaminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy, severe psoriasis 
and psoriatic arthritis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's 
disease), ulcerative colitis and complex regional pain syndrome.

The additions were the result of petitions from members of the public 
and a long process of public hearings, approval by the Department of 
Consumer Protection's Board of Physicians and then successfully 
passing the regulatory-review process, which involves more public 
hearings, vetting by the state attorney general and approval by the 
General Assembly's Regulation Review Committee.

There is also a bill in the Public Health Committee that would make 
it easier for hospice patients to access medical marijuana and 
legalize it for children who have certain diseases. Those would be 
limited to "terminal illness requiring end-of-life care, irreversible 
spinal cord injury with objective neurological indication of 
intractable spasticity, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, severe 
epilepsy or uncontrolled intractable seizure disorder.

Minors would not be able to purchase smokeable or vaporizing 
marijuana, however. They would be limited to other forms, such as 
edibles, strips placed under the tongue and oils, Harris said.

The bill "also would make some important changes to step up research 
in Connecticut," he said. "We could become the focal point for 
research" into the drug on a national level.

As of March 13, 9,310 patients had registered with the state to buy 
medical marijuana from one of the six dispensaries, with three new 
dispensaries approved to open this summer, two in Milford and one in 
Waterbury. One on West River Road in Milford has drawn opposition 
from neighborhood residents.

There are 2,371 registered patients in New Haven County, 597 in 
Litchfield County and 544 in Middlesex County.

The 11 conditions approved in the 2012 law are cancer, glaucoma, HIV/ 
AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous 
tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of 
intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn's 
disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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