On May 31, 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state in the US to approve medical marijuana when Governor Dan Malloy signed HB 5389, "An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana."  The bill passed both the Connecticut House and Senate by substantial margins, 96-51 and 21-13 respectively.  The Act provides patients, physicians, caregivers, licensed dispensaries, and licensed producers protection from arrest when using, recommending, or handling medical marijuana in accordance with the law.  As of October 1, 2016, protections will also extend to advanced practice registered nurses in certain instances.[1]  Patients and caregivers have been able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries that are licensed by the state since 2013.

Final regulations for Connecticut’s medical marijuana program were issued on September 6, 2013, in accordance with Ch. 420f, Connecticut General Statutes, regulations, and these regulations are amended as of October 1, 2016 [January 1, 2017].  The changes are documented below.  These rules pertain to patients, caregivers, physicians, dispensaries, and producers.  The first of six original dispensaries opened in September 2014, and the state ilicensed three additional dispensaries in 2016. 

In 2016, three additional dispensaries were licensed, six new conditions were added to the program and the legislature passed HB 5450. HB 5450 allows minors to qualify for the medical cannabis program under some restrictions, creates protections for nurses to administer medical cannabis in health care facilities, and allows dispensaries to provide medical cannabis to medical facilities serving registered medical cannabis patients.

Patients should familiarize themselves with the regulations, as they cover areas beyond what is in the statute, such as limiting patients to register with a single dispensary location at which they may purchase medicine. 

[1] As of October 1, 2016, nurses are able to administer marijuana to qualifying patients or research subjects in a hospital or health care facility licensed by the Department of Public Health.  After January 1, 2017 wherever “physician” is listed, “and an advanced practice registered nurse” should be inserted except in cases of glaucoma, because beginning January 1, 2017, advanced practice registered nurses will be able to issue certifications, examine qualifying patients, and complete all other requirements that apply to physicians within this manual with the exception of glaucoma.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-408c.


An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana: House Bill No. 5389

HB 5450 (2016) - Providing pediatric access to medical cannabis for terminal illness, an irreversible spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, or severe or intractable epilepsy. The bill also authorized testing labs as well as permits patient access in hospice care. Effective October 1, 2016.


Regulation of the Department of Consumer Protection Concerning Palliative Use of Marijuana

Regulation Classifying Marijuana as Schedule II Drug

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An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana: House Bill No. 5389