February 23, 2016

Medical Marijuana Restrictions and Insurance Coverage

OLR Reports 2015-R-0222 and 2015-R-0225 describe restrictions on medical marijuana consumption and current insurance coverage for medical marijuana in Connecticut.

Public Act 12-55 legalized palliative use of marijuana (“medical marijuana”) for a qualifying patient with a debilitating medical condition.  The law generally provides that patients who meet the law’s requirements must not be arrested, prosecuted, otherwise penalized, or denied any right or privilege for medical marijuana use. However, this protection does not apply if the patient’s marijuana use endangers the health or well-being of anyone other than themselves or their primary caregiver. OLR Report 2015-R-0222 identifies specific restrictions on medical marijuana use. 

While medical marijuana use is authorized for certain patients in Connecticut, insurers, generally, do not provide coverage for it because insurers only cover federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, and marijuana is not an FDA-approved drug. See OLR Report 2015-R-0225 for additional information on insurance coverage for medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana patients may not smoke within the line of sight of a minor or consume marijuana in a way that exposes a minor to secondhand smoke. Smoking is also prohibited in public places, in moving vehicles, at work, on school grounds, including college or university properties, or at a marijuana dispensary.

The Department of Consumer Protection has government oversight over medical marijuana dispensaries, licensing requirements, regulations and fees.