Regulating Drugs
5:05 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Pharmacists to Play Key Role Dispensing Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Credit Gordon Swanson/Hemera / Thinkstock
Patients will have to pick up medical marijuana at one of the state's special dispensing facilities.

About 200 pharmacists and physicians gathered on Wednesday in Southington for the first Medical Cannabis Symposium in Connecticut.

Connecticut is only the state in the country with legalized medical marijuana laws that requires an on-site pharmacist to dispense the drug.

Margherita Giuliano, executive vice-president of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association, said that when medical marijuana become available in Connecticut, pharmacists will play a key role, advising patients on how to use it. "Physicians will be authorizing the patients to be able to obtain the product," she said. "The patient will go to the dispensary of their choice, and the pharmacist will sit with the patient, and help them come up with a product that will work for their diagnosis."

As marijuana moves from its long-time status as an illicit drug to a therapeutic medication, Giuliano said pharmacists will be on the front lines: working on dosing, examining patients’ histories, and watching for potential drug interactions. "Patients will be coming in once a month. The pharmacists will be working with the patient, [and] see if they have to tweak the medication at all."

Patients won’t be able to pick up medical marijuana from licensed pharmacies. They’ll have to go to one of the state’s special dispensing facilities.

Producers say the product may be ready in Connecticut sometime in mid-to-late fall.