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Connecticut Wants Researchers To Begin Studying It’s Medical Marijuana

cannabisThis New England state wants researchers to begin studying its medical marijuana

The Cannabist - By. Susan Haigh - 10/03/2016

HARTFORD, Conn. — The New England state is encouraging its hospitals, universities and licensed marijuana producers to embark on research that could improve understanding of Connecticut medical marijuana qualities, something officials hope will also boost the state’s biotech industry.

While there’s some research already underway in Connecticut and elsewhere, officials here hope the state’s initiative, which began Oct. 1, will lead to much greater exploration of medical cannabis. The proposals will be vetted by an institutional review board, approved by the Department of Consumer Protection commissioner and theoretically protected under the legal umbrella of the state’s 4-year-old medical marijuana law.

Researchers, they contend, shouldn’t be impeded by current federal constraints because of recent legislation that prevents the federal government from punishing states using marijuana for medical purposes.

“This is the first formal program that we know of that will provide the protections and the framework to be able to use the standardized product in Connecticut to produce meaningful research,” said Jonathan Harris, Department of Consumer Protection commissioner, adding how Connecticut is “probably the best-situated state” for such research, considering its medical marijuana program is among the most highly regulated. Only licensed pharmacists can dispense the drug to patients with conditions such as epilepsy and cancer.

Since 1998, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

The U.S. government still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, an illegal substance with no acceptable medical use. The Drug Enforcement Administration also regulates the cultivation of marijuana for research purposes. Until August, it had allowed only the University of Mississippi to cultivate cannabis for research.

In April, a bipartisan group of congressional members, including Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, urged President Barack Obama to reschedule marijuana, arguing how it’s currently more difficult for scientists to study the drug than cocaine or methamphetamines. The DEA has previously denied such requests. They also urged Obama to allow researchers to use marijuana grown in the states and not just at the University of Mississippi.

“We need more research, and it’s going to take a joint state and federal approach to get researchers more interested in this topic,” Murphy said. “There are legitimate questions that need to be answered about the effectiveness of medical marijuana.”

The medical marijuana programs around the country have already prompted some state-based research into the drug. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are roughly 10 states, including a couple without medical marijuana programs, with laws allowing some sort of research. Some projects are funded through excise taxes or licensing fees. But Karmen Hanson, a program manager at NCSL, said some of the studies can’t really function because of concerns that participating universities might lose federal financial support by conducting research that could be considered illegal by federal authorities.

In Colorado, where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use, there are at least 10 state-funded trials in the early stages or underway. They’re tackling issues such as whether medical marijuana can help adolescents and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease to whether the drug can help veterans with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tom Schultz, president of Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions in Portland, Connecticut, a state-licensed marijuana producer, encouraged Connecticut lawmakers to pass legislation earlier this year creating the research program for state-based entities. He said his company, which plans to fund studies and provide product, has been in discussions with Yale University and other institutions. He said the possible topics range from what types of cancer patients might benefit from the drug to the ideal dosages. He hopes to bring a proposal to state officials by the end of the year.

“There’s a lot of work to be done on fundamental questions, like dosing protocols, which haven’t been explored,” he said, adding how the first state that’s successful with such research will have a “big advantage” over other states in expanding its biotech industry.

“It is not as if we are bunch of people sitting around, sort of getting high eating chocolate, saying, ‘gee, maybe there’s something new to learn about this stuff,'” he said. “We’re talking about relatively esoteric science here.”

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11 States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana Next

With a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization, it seems to be only time before the herb is legal in every state. Currently only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington) and D.C. have legalized recreational pot for adults—but according to financial blog 24/7 Wall St., 11 more states might not be far behind.

The blog's predictions are based on two criteria: states where medical marijuana is legal and states where possession of small amounts of weed is not punishable by jail.

Other considerations included the number of marijuana-related arrests per 100,000 residents, the estimated proportion of residents who used marijuana in the past year and public opinion polls.

According to USA Today, most of the states on the list also have a high number of marijuana users, with nine surpassing the nationwide rate.

See the list below:

1. Massachusetts

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana Related Arrests in 2012: 2,596
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 39
Minimum Penalty Classification : Civil Offense

2. Nevada

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $600
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 8,524
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 309
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor

3. California

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 21,256
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 56
Minimum Penalty Classification: Infraction

4. New York

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 112,974
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 577
Minimum Penalty Classification: Not Classified

5. Vermont

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $200
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 926
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 148
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

6. Minnesota

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $200
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 12,051
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 224
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor

7. Connecticut

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $150
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 3,747
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 104
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Penalty

8. Maryland

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 22,042
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 375
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Offense

9. Rhode Island

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $150
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 2,320
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 221
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

10. Maine

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $600
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 3,202
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 241
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

11. Delaware

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $575
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 2,912
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 318
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor


VIA High Times

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Moving forward in CT

Conn. committee passes medical marijuana bill

HARTFORD — A bill that would allow Connecticut adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes, if the drug is prescribed by their doctor, has cleared its first legislative hurdle. Members of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee voted 35-to-8 in support of the bill Wednesday, after an hour-long discussion of the measure.  This year’s bill proposes a system for licensing medical marijuana producers, dispensing the drug, and registering qualified patients with debilitating conditions. Under the proposed bill doctors could prescribe marijuana to patients who suffer from certain specified illnesses.  Additionally, the bill would limit medical marijuana prescriptions to a one year supply and require all drug manufacturing and distribution to be done in Connecticut. Many Connecticut lawmakers have said the bill is the best that has been presented before the committee, and even the legislature, as it addresses many concerns that opponents have raised in previous years.    Bill supporters said marijuana should be legalized for medical purpose to help state residents who are suffering from debilitating diseases.  Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, a ranking member of the committee, said the issue comes down to a matter of human compassion. “When you sit here year-in and year-out and you listen to these individuals facing these really horrific circumstances in their lives, who are we to not allow them to access this if it gives them some comfort?” he said. Despite this, some committee members voiced concerns on how the potential state law legalizing medical marijuana could be affected by the federal intervention. Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding, said because the issue is in violation of the federal law, it would create a dual policy where the drug is not illegal under state law, but federal law. Other opponents raised concerns that federal intervention under the law could result in arrests of state employees and doctors who prescribe or distribute the drug. Committee co-chair, Rep. Gerald Fox III, D-Stamford, said he is not concerned on with federal intervention, however, as the legislation is careful to operate within state law.  “We have crafted a bill that is very controlled and it’s our hope that it will alleviate a lot of the concerns people have had in the past,” he said. The bill’s passage comes shortly after a new poll shows a sizeable majority of Connecticut voters support allowing legalizing the drug for medical purposes. According to the poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 68 percent of registered voters said legalizing medical marijuana for adults is a good idea while 27 percent said it’s a bad idea.  The survey of 1,622 registered voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Mike Lawlor, the undersecretary of Criminal Justice Policy for the Office of Policy and Management, said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy supports the concept of the legislation. He said he is confident the governor will sign the bill if it reaches his desk this session. A bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana in Connecticut failed during last year’s legislative session.

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CT making moves

Medical Marijuana Legislation Reintroduced in Connecticut

Kudos to Erik and his team for fighting for patients. -UA

Lawmakers are once again considering legislation, House Bill 5389, to allow for the limited legalization of medical marijuana by qualified patients. HB 5389 has been assigned to the House Committee on the Judiciary and is scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, March 7th.

Last year, Connecticut NORML played a key role in the passage of legislation decriminalizing the possession of minor amounts of marijuana. This year, marijuana law reformers agree that Connecticut is primed to enact medical marijuana law reform.

State lawmakers previously passed medicinal cannabis reform legislation in 2007, only to have it vetoed by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell. New Gov. Dannel Malloy is a supporter of marijuana law reform.

Presently, sixteen states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. Patients in these sixteen states enjoy legal protections to use medicinal marijuana under a doctor's supervision; Connecticut’s citizens deserve this same protection.

Please take time today to contact your state House and Senate members and urge them to support allowing for the medical use marijuana by qualified patients. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be sent to your representatives when you enter your zip code below.

To receive e-mail updates on the progress of this legislation and what you can do to assure its passage, please contact Erik Williams, Connecticut NORML Executive Director, here.

Thank you for your support of NORML and our efforts to enact medical marijuana reform in Connecticut.

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Where can I smoke this?

Mayor Finizio rescinds marijuana directive

By Kathleen Edgecomb
State's attorney says edict would be in violation of Connecticut law

New London - The New London state's attorney has said Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio does not have the authority to direct city police officers to look the other way if they witness marijuana use on private property.

State's Attorney Michael L. Regan said Wednesday that a section of a mayoral executive order, which instructs police not to pursue charges involving possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia if the violation occurs on private property and the landowner has not made a complaint or requested police assistance, violates state law.

Finizio, who issued the order Tuesday morning, said he will abide by the state's opinion and rescind that section of the order. But he said he believes he has the authority to allocate police resources where they are needed the most.

"I accept their ruling and I will not challenge their ruling," Finizio said Wednesday. "I still hold the belief that the mayor has the authority to allocate patrol strength according to budget, and if in the judgment of the mayor certain laws should be emphasized over others, (then) that's within my purview."

Regan called city attorney Jeffrey T. Londregan about the executive order after reading about it in the newspaper. Finizio then called Regan and asked him to take a look at the order, which was filed in City Hall Tuesday morning.

"That paragraph (section one of the order) would conflict with state statutes,'' Regan said Wednesday after sending Finizio a one-paragraph letter. "He (Finizio) called me, and without me asking he agreed to change it."

"The state is saying you can say, 'Don't pay attention to this and concentrate on that' as a matter of policy,'' Finizio said. "But you can't explicitly say don't issue a ticket.

"I don't think any of it was improper. But I do not think it is wise or prudent for the city to pursue this in court.''

The rest of the order, which protects officers from disciplinary action if they do not issue a ticket for marijuana use on private property, remains intact.

"It says that we trust the officer's judgment at the time,'' Finizio said.

The mayor said he ran the order by the law director and the police chief before filing it Tuesday morning in one of his first official acts as mayor. "We knew it might not hold up,'' he said. "The police chief was fine with it and the law director was fine with it."

Finizio said he will always abide by what a higher legal authority says, even if he disagrees. "But until a higher legal authority says so ... I will exercise my legal judgments,'' he said.

Tuesday morning Finizio also filed four other executive orders, saying he was following through on campaign promises.

Three of those orders state: No disciplinary action will be taken against city employees, except those in safety-related occupations, who test positive for marijuana during random drug testing; police cannot ask about a person's immigration status or take measures against a suspected illegal alien or refugee unless a possible violation of federal immigration law is being investigated; and police are prohibited from using profiling techniques to pull over potential criminals.

The fourth declares the first Sunday before Memorial Day as New London Neighbor Day. A celebration in front of City Hall is being planned for that day.

Some members of the City Council were surprised to read about the orders in the newspaper and felt they should have been given copies before the information was released to the public.

But Finizio said he had briefed the councilors that he was writing up the orders and said he did not receive any comments from them. He also said he did not receive any requests for advanced copies.

Finizio sent an apologetic email to the council and said in the future he would provide draft copies in advance.

No further orders are planned at this time, he said.

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Medical marijuana bill clears committee

By Ed Jacovino
Journal Inquirer
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 9:55 AM EDT
HARTFORD — State residents would be able to grow and smoke marijuana for medical reasons under a measure that passed Tuesday out of a legislative committee.

The proposal by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, would allow those with specific sicknesses to grow up to four plants, 4 feet tall, and possess 1 ounce of usable marijuana.

The patient would need a prescription, and the patient’s caregiver would be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection.

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