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Medical Marijuana

New England State Poised to Take Leading Role in MMJ Market

Maureen Meehan

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Connecticut’s medical marijuana program is rocking it.

With its 3.5 million people, Connecticut has 15,000 registered medical marijuana patients, according to Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris, whose department oversees the program.

Harris reports that the program is growing exponentially and all is well.

“That number was about 1,700 two years ago” when the program started, he said. “We’re increasing by about 100 patients a week.”

Doctors are also signing on. There were 80 when the Nutmeg State voted to approved MMJ in 2014. Today there are 569.

“The stigma is decreasing tremendously,” Harris said and pointed to the October 1 enactment of legislation giving access to non-smokable MMJ for children suffering from terminal illness, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis and other ailments.

Unlike some states that are stingily allowing a pathetically short list of qualifying illnesses, medical cannabis is allowed in Connecticut as a treatment for 22 specific medical conditions.

The state recently increased the number of dispensaries from six to eight, with a ninth set to open soon.

The Department of Consumer Protection also began accepting applications for research projects that could help strengthen and expand its medical marijuana program, according to WestFairOnline. Eligible applicants include hospitals, other health care facilities, higher education institutions and licensed medical marijuana producers and dispensaries.

“The state’s medical marijuana program is not only providing patients suffering from serious diseases, and their doctors, an alternative treatment option; it’s creating good jobs in the state,” Harris said. “With this new research program, Connecticut could become the focal point for medical cannabis research and add to the strong biotech base already here.”

Harris said the medical marijuana program already employs about 250 people statewide and approved research projects will require more hiring.

“This kind of research is sorely needed not just in Connecticut, but around the country and around the world as well,” Harris said. “This is designed to make Connecticut the place with a framework to do this kind of research and to be the source of really good job-building for the future.”

Keep it up, Connecticut.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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