Becoming a Caregiver, Producer or Provider in Connecticut
Connecticut's medical marijuana laws protect patients and their designated caregivers. Designated caregivers are allowed to possess and obtain marijuana for the patient in their care as long as (1) the patient has a valid registration certificate from the Department of Consumer Protection and (2) the qualifying patient has not been convicted of a violation of any law related to the illegal manufacture, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance. The caregiver may not use marijuana without being a registered patient nor provide it to anyone but their patient.
To become a registered caregiver, the qualifying patient’s physician must indicate that the patient requires the assistance of a caregiver and the qualifying patient must designate you as that caregiver on the patient registration application. To do so, the patient must provide your name, email address, and phone number. The Department of Consumer Protection will contact you and ask you to provide:
1. Proof of Identity
2. Current passport size photograph
3. $25 registration fee
Registered caregivers (1) must be at least 18 years of age, (2) cannot have been convicted of crimes related to controlled substances, and (3) may serve as a caregiver for only one qualifying patient. Caregivers may care for more than one qualifying patient if the caregiver and each qualifying patient have a parental, guardianship, conservatorship or sibling relationship. Additionally, any changes in registration as indicated above must be reported within five (5) days.
Health insurance is not required to access the palliative use of marijuana. Health insurance is not affected by these laws and regulations.
Penalties & Limitations
Seizure and Return of Marijuana, Paraphernalia or Other Property
Any marijuana, paraphernalia relating to marijuana, or other property seized by law enforcement officials from a qualifying patient or a primary caregiver related to the palliative use of marijuana is to be returned to the qualifying patient or the primary caregiver immediately after a Court determines that the qualifying patient or primary caregiver can lawfully possess the palliative use of marijuana. A court deciding not to prosecute, dismiss charges, or acquit the patient or caregiver is evidence of a right to have such items returned. Note that this provision does not apply to any qualifying patient or caregiver who does not comply with the laws depicted here.
Misrepresentations to Law Enforcement
Providing fraudulent representations to law enforcement officials about the palliative use of marijuana to avoid arrests or prosecution will result in a class C misdemeanor.
Providing fraudulent representations to law enforcement officials about the issuance, contents, or validity of a written certification (or counterfeit written certification) to use medical marijuana will result in a class A misdemeanor.
Legal Rights at School, Home, and Work
No school can refuse to enroll anyone or discriminate against any student solely due to a student’s status as a qualifying patient or caregiver for the palliative use of marijuana.
No landlord can refuse to rent a place of residence or take action against a tenant solely due to the tenant’s status as a qualifying patient or caregiver for the palliative use of marijuana.
No employer may refuse to hire someone or discharge, penalize, or threaten an employee solely based on the employee’s status as a qualifying patient or caregiver for the palliative use of marijuana. Note that this does not mean the employer cannot restrict the intoxicating use of substances during work hours; it also does not mean the employer cannot discipline the employee for being intoxicated during work hours.
Additionally, in all of these situations, the other rules and regulations depicted in this manual still must be followed.
Using medical marijuana cannot endanger the health or wellbeing of other individuals, including the primary caregiver.
A qualifying patient is not protected by this law and manual, if the qualifying patient ingests medical marijuana (1) in a motor bus, school bus, or any other moving vehicle, (2) in the workplace, (3) on school grounds or any public or private school, college, or university, including a dorm, (4) in any public place, or (5) in the presence of a person under 18 years old. (Presence means in the direct line of sight of the use of marijuana or any exposure to second hand smoke, and public place means any area that is used or held out for use by the public).
Caregivers also must re-register every year and to re-register, caregivers must (1) provide an updated passport photo, (2) complete the necessary certifications in the renewal form, and (3) pay a $25 registration fee.
Quantity of Medical Marijuana
Additionally, the amount of marijuana acquired, distributed, possessed, or transported and together combined with the useable amount for the caregiver and qualifying patient (or patients if in the familial relationship listed above) cannot exceed an amount reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability and use for one month. Currently, 2.5 ounces or less per qualifying patient is the allowable amount of medical marijuana that a primary caregiver can have in his or her possession. If the prescription is for less than 2.5 ounces, the amount prescribed is the amount of medical marijuana that can be possessed.
Obtaining Marijuana for Qualified Patients
Medical marijuana patients in Connecticut are to obtain their marijuana from registered dispensaries, which are to have medicine provided by licensed producers. Connecticut’s medical marijuana act establishes basic guidelines for the licensing and operation of dispensaries and producers, but the final regulations and application process is the responsibility of the Department of Consumer Protection. Currently, registered caregivers may possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana.
The dispensary location wherein which the qualifying patient is going to access and acquire the marijuana must be chosen at the time of registration. The dispensary must be in-state, and the marijuana products must be purchased from that dispensary. The dispensary location can be changed, but changing the location must follow the Department of Consumer Protection regulations. If you are found to have in your possession marijuana and its products not from the chosen dispensary, you can be subject to hearing and enforcement actions. If the patient is less than 18 years old, the custodial parent, guardian or other person having legal custody must choose or change the dispensary location for the qualifying patient.
No one can act as a dispensary or represent that they are a licensed dispensary without having obtained a license to be a dispensary from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection.
The Commissioner of Consumer Protection determines how many dispensaries are needed in the state; this is based on the needs of qualifying patients. The Commissioner adopts regulations that depict the standards and maximum number of licensed dispensaries that are allowed in the state. Licensed dispensaries or employees will not be subject to arrest or prosecution or penalized for acting within the scope of their positions.
Becoming a Licensed Dispensary
To receive a license to operate a dispensary, the following are required:
1. The Commissioner must deem the applicant qualified to acquire, possess, distribute and dispense marijuana;
2. The applicant is a licensed pharmacist under the law;
3. The number of licensed dispensaries does not exceed the maximum amount of needed dispensaries;
4. The marijuana cannot come from outside the state of Connecticut and cannot be transferred outside of Connecticut;
5. [Dispensaries on or before January 1, 2017 and annually after, must report the types of mixtures and dosages of palliative marijuana dispensed at the dispensary. This report must be sent to the Department of Consumer Protection.], and;
6. The dispensary must meet health, safety, and security requirements (Examples include the ability to control and prevent theft and loss of marijuana at the dispensary and the ability to maintain security controls and ethics in order to dispense palliative marijuana safely and accurately).
There may be fees associated with acquiring a dispensary license and maintaining it. The fees should not be less than the amount required to cover the direct and indirect cost of licensing and regulating dispensaries. As of now, the initiation application fee is $1,000, and the registration fee is $5,000. Both fees are non-refundable. These fees are to be paid to the State Treasurer and credited to the General Fund.
Licenses also must be renewed at least every two years. As of now a nonrefundable renewal fee of $5,000 is required upon renewal.
Also, a dispensary cannot dispense a smokable, inhalable, or vaporizable marijuana product to a primary caregiver for a qualifying patient who is less than 18 years old.
There will be standards and procedures in place for the revocation, suspension, and nonrenewal of dispensary licenses.
Maintaining a Licensed Dispensary
To maintain a dispensary license, a licensed dispensary or employee must:
1. Acquire marijuana from a licensed producer;
2. Only distribute or dispense marijuana to
(a) A qualifying patient;
(b) A primary caregiver of the qualifying patient;
(c) Beginning October 1, 2016, a hospice or other inpatient care facility with protocol for handling and distributing marijuana licensed by the Department of Public Health and approved by the Department of Consumer Protection;
(d) Beginning October 1, 2016, a laboratory, or;
(e) Beginning October 1, 2016, an organization engaged in a research program, and;
3. Not obtain or transport marijuana outside of this state in violation of state or federal law.
No one can act as a producer or represent that they are a licensed producer without having obtained a license to be a producer from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection.
The Commissioner of Consumer Protection determines how many producers are needed in the state; this is based on the needs of qualifying patients. The Commissioner adopts regulations that depict the standards and maximum number of licensed producers that are allowed in the state. Licensed producers or employees will not be subject to arrest or prosecution or penalized for acting within the scope of their positions.
Becoming a Licensed Producer
To receive a license to produce marijuana, the following are required:
1. The Commissioner finds the applicant organized for the purpose of cultivating marijuana for palliative use in Connecticut;
2. The Commissioner finds that the applicant has appropriate expertise in agriculture (the applicant is qualified to cultivate marijuana and sell, deliver, transport, and distribute it within Connecticut);
3. The number of licensed producers does not exceed the maximum amount of needed producers;
4. The marijuana is not cultivated, sold, delivered, transported, or distributed by a producer from or to a location outside of Connecticut;
5. A nonrefundable application fee of at least $25,000 per application is paid by the applicant;
6. The producer applicant establishes and shows the financial capacity to build and operate a marijuana production facility (this may include having to put $2 million in an escrow account at a financial institution), and;
7. The producer meets health, safety, and security requirements; (this includes the ability to control and prevent theft and loss of marijuana at the dispensary and the ability to cultivate pharmaceutical grade marijuana for palliative use in a secure indoor facility).
There will be license and renewal fees for each licensed producer, and these fees will not be less than the amount necessary to cover the cost of licensing and regulating producers. As of now, a $25,000 nonrefundable initial application fee is required, and a $75,000 nonrefundable registration fee is required. Any fees collected by the Department of Consumer Protection will be paid to the State Treasurer and credited to the general fund.
These licenses must be renewed at least every 5 years, and upon renewal, a $75,000 nonrefundable fee is required.
There will be standards and procedures in place for the revocation, suspension, and nonrenewal of producer licenses if the regulations and requirements are not followed.
Remaining a Licensed Producer
To maintain a producer license, a licensed producer or employee must:
1. Only sell, deliver, transport or distribute marijuana to a person who is
(a) a licensed dispensary,
(b) Beginning October 1, 2016, a laboratory, or
(c) Beginning October 1, 2016, an organization engaged in a research program
2. Not obtain or transport marijuana outside of Connecticut.