November 21, 2014

Public Hearing on Possible Additional Qualifying Medical Conditions for Medical Marijuana Use

On November 26, the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will hold a public hearing on petitions to add four conditions to those that qualify for medical marijuana use.  The hearing will consider the following conditions:
  • sickle cell disease,
  • Tourette’s disorder,
  • post laminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy (sometimes referred to as failed back surgery syndrome), and 
  • severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Connecticut’s medical marijuana law allows doctors to certify an adult patient’s use of marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions, under specified procedures.  The law lists 11 qualifying conditions and allows DCP to add other conditions through regulations.
The law also required DCP to establish a Board of Physicians who are knowledgeable about medical marijuana use. Among other duties, the board must conduct public hearings and evaluate petitions seeking to add medical conditions to the list of those that qualify for marijuana use.  The board can also recommend adding conditions on its own initiative (it has not done so thus far).  The November 26 hearing will be the first such hearing to assess public petitions.

By regulation, after the hearing, the board must make a written recommendation to the DCP commissioner as to whether to add the condition to the list of qualifying conditions. A majority of board members present at the hearing must concur in the recommendation. The decision on whether to add the condition to the list rests with the commissioner, subject to legislative approval.
Currently, the qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Detailed information about Connecticut’s medical marijuana program is available on DCP’s website.