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Connecticut Senator Seeks to Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Program

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Connecticut Senator Terry Gerratana has aided in legislation allowing minors to have access to medical marijuana. Local officials are weighing the pros and cons of further expanding the program.

Four new conditions were approved recently, but require passing by the Regulations Review Committee before they can be added to the qualifying conditions list, according to New Britain Herald. It may be a year before patients with fibromyalgia, PTSD, muscular dystrophy and rheumatoid arthritis can register for the medical marijuana program.

State Representative Rick Lopes said, “I am in support of expanding slowly and conservatively the number of illnesses that qualify for medical marijuana. I think the state has taken a very slow and conservative approach and the result has been very successful, with limited programs and true medical relief for people who need it.”

State Representative Gary Byron said, “The only thing I’ve heard is that it’s doing wonderful things for those who are suffering. I’m very much in favor of it.”

Connecticut might become a reciprocating city – meaning that those visiting may be able to use out-of-state medical marijuana cards to access medication while visiting Connecticut. State Representative Peter Tercyak supports a proposal being introduced by the legislative commissioner’s office presently.

Tercyak said, “We just want to say welcome to visitors. We don’t want you to risk arrest when you are on an airplane or driving through a state that isn’t enlightened enough to have a program. Don’t worry when you come to Connecticut. We’ll allow you to buy your medicine.”

Tercyak is supportive of legalizing recreational marijuana too. He sees becoming a reciprocating state as a way to help boost tourism to Connecticut.
He said, “We could have recreational marijuana being sold and taxed well before Massachusetts does. There’s a benefit for being the first in the region. We have a budget crisis. Why are we not taxing marijuana?”

Dr. Andrew Salner supports medical marijuana. He said, “I was an early advocate for the program before it was approved. I’ve treated carefully-selected cancer patients suffering from nausea, loss of appetite and pain syndromes who don’t respond to conventional medications or who have excessive side effects. The medical cannabis therapy has been very helpful with an 80 to 90-percent success rate.”

Dr. Salner also said, “It’s a program that I think has really proved beneficial for lots of patients. As we learn more, I think it will continue to grow.”