Making a Tough Marijuana Industry

Jul 8, 2013

Connecticut passed a medicinal marijuana law last year, but it could be some time before an industry grows in the state. So far, more than 700 patients are on a registry list. Next month, a committee will review the final nitty gritty in terms of regulations for a Connecticut's medical marijuana industry.

After that, the Department of Consumer Protection will begin to accept licenses for dispensaries and producers. Patients diagnosed with any one of 11 disorders ranging from multiple sclerosis to PTSD can qualify.

Since October, 725 patients have have been certified. About 480 of them have been issued user cards. But not all doctors are on board just yet. "We've had about 90 physicians so far who have taken the steps to register into our system to register patients. That list is growing overtime," said state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein speaking on WNPR's Where We Live. He says Connecticut's laws are some of the toughest in the country.

In order to maintain oversight of the industry, the state is only granting three producers licenses. That's compared to places like Colorado where there are more than 1,000 growers. "We treat medical marijuana - its production, and its dispensing, certification by physicians the same way that we treat other controlled pharmaceutical substances with the same controls in place, the same safety, the same oversight over production that the product is not adulterated," Rubenstein said.

Given Connecticut's limited industry, marijuana costs are expected to be higher here than in Western states. And although the state provides immunity to approved industry members and patients, marijuana is still subject to federal penalties.