Connecticut medical marijuana patients will have to wait in line because due to a shortage of licensed physicians and marijuana producers willing to participate. The lack of education about state laws and general ignorance are to blame. Connecticut’s Medical Marijuana Program is looking for additional doctors willing to prescribe medical marijuana.
In June 2015, FoxCT reported that there are 4,097 patients registered for medical marijuana in Connecticut and 222 doctors prescribing it. The state government is reaching out to 7,000 more doctors in the Connecticut State Marijuana Society in an effort to erase the stigma that limits the availability needed in Connecticut.
Angela D’Amico is fighting for medical marijuana in Connecticut. D’Amico has ten years’ experience running medical marijuana dispensaries in the past in California. Her enterprise, D&B Wellness Center rose from the ashes after she failed in Stratford and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Finally she was able to secure zoning approval in Bethel, Connecticut.
D’Amico explains “I felt like it was divine intervention. I really felt my knees go weak… [D&B Wellness Center founders] were working on four days of no sleep. We did a month’s worth of work in days.”
Securing various approvals is just one of the pitfalls aspiring dispensary owners can face. The inaction of doctors is hurting patients that have to travel to find access. D’Amico believes doctors are timid and unaware of safe approaches like CBD oil. She told News Times “Since we’ve gotten in the concentrated cannabis oil, with one-to-one ratios between THC and CBD, the oils have come to the top of our largest use… People are getting away from smoking loose flowers. They’re using oils for e-cigarettes and concentrated cannabis oil delivered in syringes sublingually.”
On April 22, 2015, a panel of doctors voted to approve two more conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. Also in March, the zoning board reviewed regulations for marijuana dispensaries. Patients that are genuinely sick cannot reasonably travel to the small amount of dispensaries sprinkled sparsely throughout the state. Zoning board member David Stein says “The problem is you have people who need it for medical reasons and yet have to travel quite a distance to Bethel in order to get the help they need.”
Jonathan Harris, Commissioner to the Department of Consumer Protection(which licenses dispensaries) said “It’s a private-sector model and it should be driven by the businesses, patients and doctors on the ground. It’s a unique position as a regulator to clear up the misinformation, tear down some of the barriers and give people some comfort that they’re not going to get into any kind of trouble if they participate.” The deadline to apply for a dispensary license is September 18 at 3pm.
Medical marijuana laws are here to stay. States that have recently adopted medical marijuana like Connecticut should look towards veteran cannabis states like California, which has maintained legal medical marijuana for nearly 20 years. The attitude about cannabis in Connecticut will surely follow as well.