Last Update: January 16, 2015

Board of Physicians recommends addition of new conditions

The Board of Physicians, which advises the state’s medical marijuana program, recently voted in support of adding four new conditions — sickle cell disease, post laminectomy syndrome (“failed back syndrome”), severe psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. The board will recommend that the Department of Consumer Protection include these conditions in the state program. Please voice your support for these additions, and ask the commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection to accept the board’s recommendation.

The state’s cultivation and dispensary facilities finally started operating last fall, but many patients have found the cost for medical marijuana to be much higher than expected. Most troubling, prices can far exceed prices available in the underground market. Some wonder if the state’s program is over-regulated, artificially increasing costs for a natural medicine that is safer than many prescription medications.

Poll shows support for legalizing marijuana

In addition to the strong support Connecticuters have for their medical marijuana program, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that a majority of voters in Connecticut now support legalizing cannabis for adults. Fifty-two percent of all voters, and 80% of voters under 30 years old, support legalizing the possession of personal use amounts of marijuana for adults. Ask your legislators to support legalizing marijuana and regulating it similarly to alcohol.

Connecticut one of 19 states to have decriminalized marijuana possession

Since 2011, possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana has been a civil violation in Connecticut, punishable by a fine of up to $150. It is not a jailable offense. Subsequent offenses are subject to increased fines ranging from $200-$500. Upon a third violation, offenders are referred to a drug awareness program. Most importantly, those accused of being in possession are not saddled with a criminal record, which can mark a person for life. In addition to the fine, anyone under 21 who is found in possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana faces a 60-day suspension of his or her driver's license.

Although Connecticut has improved its marijuana laws in recent years, penalties still exist for adults in possession of a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. Data reported to the FBI by state law enforcement shows that in 2012, 85% of all marijuana-related arrests or citations were for possession. During the same period, over 76% of all reported rapes, and 85% of all burglaries, including home invasions, went unsolved. Law enforcement should focus its resources and time on serious crime instead of pursuing people in possession of small amounts of cannabis. 

 Please ask your legislators to take marijuana off the criminal market, to legalize it for adults, and to tax and regulate it similarly to alcohol.

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