Becoming a Patient in Connecticut
Connecticut's Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana provides patients and caregivers protection from arrest when using or handling medical marijuana in accordance with the law. Protections only apply to registered patients and caregivers. Patients and caregivers may purchase medical cannabis from dispensaries that are licensed by the state.
Patients and caregivers may purchase and possess medical marijuana from state licensed dispensaries; however, neither patients nor caregivers are allowed to grow their own medicine. The possession amounts are not set by state law, rather, the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) will determine through regulations the possession amount based on ensuring an "uninterrupted availability for a period of one month." The possession amounts set by the DCP may vary by qualifying condition. While the rules and regulations are put in place or edited, the DCP will issue temporary registrations. Currently, the maximum allowable monthly amount of medical marijuana that can be in a qualifying patient’s possession is 2.5 ounces. If your physician prescribes a lower amount, you cannot possess more than the amount of medical marijuana prescribed.
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
- Wasting Syndrome
- Crohn's Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Post Laminectomy Syndrome with Chronic Radiculopathy
- Severe Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Any medical condition medical treatment or disease approved by the Department of Consumer Protection
- Epilepsy or Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
- Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Terminal Illness Requiring End-of-Life Care
If the qualifying patient is under 18 years old, the following are qualifying conditions:
- Terminal Illness Requiring End-of-Life Care
- Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of intractable Spasticity
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Severe Epilepsy or Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
- Any medical condition, medical treatment or disease approved for qualifying patients by the Department of Consumer Protection
Your physician begins the process of registering you in the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program by certifying for the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) that you have a debilitating medical condition listed above. That certification takes place online with the Department and includes providing your email address and phone number or contact by the Department. Patients must (1) register with the DCP prior to engaging in the palliative use of marijuana, and (2) provide proof of residency in the state, (3) a photo ID, (4) a passport-style photo, and (5) a $100 registration fee. Note that the fee is subject to change; however the fee must be reasonable.
If your physician indicates that you need the assistance of a caregiver, you must designate and register one when submitting your registration application.
Becoming a Legal Patient
Under Connecticut law, registered patients and caregivers are shielded from arrest and prosecution so long as they conform to the rules of the state’s medical marijuana program. If a patient or caregiver is prosecuted on state charges, the patient or caregiver is entitled to present an affirmative defense that the marijuana was for a medical purpose.
A qualifying patient is a person who: (1) is a resident of Connecticut, (2) has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, and (2) (a) is eighteen years of age or older, (b) is an emancipated minor, or (c) has written consent from a custodial parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of such person to use marijuana for a debilitating medical condition and that such parent, guardian or other person will (d) serve as a primary caregiver for the qualifying patient, and (e) control acquiring and possessing marijuana and any related paraphernalia for palliative use on behalf of such person. (3) Qualifying patient does not include an inmate confined in a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction.
Finding a Doctor for a Recommendation
First and foremost, be forthright with your current doctor. Connecticut law specifies that your certifying doctor must be licensed to practice medicine in Connecticut and have a bona-fide physician-patient relationship with you that includes a full assessment of your medical history and current condition.
Specifically ask your doctor to help you obtain a medical marijuana recommendation. If you are already medicating with marijuana on your own, tell your doctor specifically what on the Connecticut list of qualifying conditions you treat with marijuana and how it helps you. Honestly describe the amount of marijuana you use, how often, and by what delivery method.
There is nothing wrong with using medical marijuana or discussing it with your doctor. A federal court has ruled that, under the First Amendment, doctors may not be punished for recommending medical marijuana. But if you have a qualifying condition and your doctor does not issue medical marijuana recommendations, you may need to visit a medical marijuana specialist.
Medical Marijuana Specialists
There are a number of Connecticut physicians and clinics available for medical marijuana consultations. Before consulting a medical marijuana specialist, patients should already have medical records of diagnosis and treatment of a qualifying condition under Connecticut law. Be aware that:
1. Not all doctors are qualified to make recommendations.
2. The doctor will want to see your medical records.
3. It can cost more than $100 to see a specialist.
4. Paying the money does not guarantee that you will get a recommendation.
If you have more questions on how to become a legal qualifying patient, contact ASA at www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org.
Obtaining a Registry Identification Card
The process of registering as a qualified patient in Connecticut begins with your physician. Once your doctor has provided certification to the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) that you have a qualifying debilitating medical condition that may benefit from medical marijuana, the DCP will contact you to complete your registration.
You will be asked to submit to the department:
1. Proof of Identity
2. Proof of Connecticut residency
3. Current passport size photograph
4. $100 registration fee (checks/money orders should be made payable to "Treasurer, State of CT")
Your physician may issue a temporary registration certificate to you depending on whether or not certain regulations regarding dispensaries and lawful amounts of marijuana are in effect or not. Note that the temporary registration is lawful as long as it lists the amount of usable marijuana for one-month. However, the temporary registration is only good for one month after the new regulations are put into effect, so you should follow-up with your physician to determine when a permanent certificate is needed.
Your physician can also indicate if you need a caregiver to assist you with administering or obtaining your medicine. If so, you must register a qualified caregiver for the department to issue you a registration certificate.
Qualifying patients can be less than 18 years old. If the qualifying patient is less than 18 years old and is not an emancipated minor, the custodial parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of the qualifying patient must provide a letter from the qualifying patient’s primary care provider and a board certified physician who is involved in the area of medicine for which the marijuana is to be used. The letter must confirm that the palliative use of marijuana is in the best interest of the adolescent qualifying patient.
Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age. Caregivers cannot have been convicted of a drug crime.
Your physician can only recommend medical marijuana after completing a full assessment of your medical history and current condition as part of a bona-fide physician-patient relationship. Your physician must be licensed to practice in Connecticut. Other licensed health professionals such as chiropractors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners cannot sign the documentation.
Currently, 2.5 ounces or less is the allowable amount of medical marijuana that a qualifying patient 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.
Renewing MMP Certificates (DCP) - http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=4287&q=530668
Connecticut registry cards are good for one year. You will need to submit a new recommendation from your physician with your renewal application. The application must also include: (1) proof that you as the qualifying patient still live in Connecticut, (2) an updated passport like photo, (3) new certifications, (4) a $100 new registration fee, and (5) update any information that has changed from the previous year. Note that your physician must update your personal information, so you will need to communicate with him or her prior to the expiration date. No more than ten calendar days after the expiration of the certificate or any time before the expiration (if the qualifying patient no longer wishes to have or use palliative marijuana), the qualifying patient or the primary caregiver shall destroy the usable marijuana.
Registry Card Changes or Loss
If there has been a change in your name, address, telephone number, physician, or primary caregiver, or if you have lost your registry card, contact the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Medical Marijuana Program at (860)706-5361 within five (5) days.