Connecticut isn’t a state that first springs to mind when you think of liberal ideas surrounding cannabis use, and its history surrounding cannabis is short when comparing it to states such as California or Colorado.

In 2011 they decriminalized minor possession charges, giving a $150 dollar fine for those caught possessing small amounts of cannabis as opposed to arresting any individuals. They then legalized medical marijuana a year later in 2012.

You can still however receive a jail sentence for possessing more than 14 grams on your first offence and certain weights can land you a maximum of 10 years behind bars with up to a $5,000 fine.

You may be surprised to know then that Connecticut’s list of conditions that allow you to acquire a cannabis prescription is one of the most extensive, second to only Illinois for the amount of conditions that qualify you for a medical cannabis prescription.

More Conditions Have Been Added

The total amount of conditions that may result in a medical cannabis prescription has increased from 22 to 30 for adults and from 6 to 8 in children. The full list is: –

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Positive Status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune
  • Deficiency Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord with Objective Neurological
  • Indication of Intractable Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Cachexia
  • Wasting Syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Post Laminectomy Syndrome with Chronic Radiculopathy
  • Severe Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable
  • Spasticity
  • Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care
  • Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
  • Spasticity or Neuropathic Pain Associated with Fibromyalgia
  • Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Post Herpetic Neuralgia
  • Hydrocephalus with Intractable Headache
  • Intractable Headache Syndromes
  • Neuropathic Facial Pain
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta

For Patients Under 18, Debilitating Medical Conditions Include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Irreversible Spinal Cord Injury with Objective Neurological Indication of Intractable Spasticity
  • Severe Epilepsy
  • Terminal Illness Requiring End-Of-Life Care
  • Uncontrolled Intractable Seizure Disorder
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Where the conditions in bold at the end of the list are the conditions to be added on 28 August 2018 following a review by The Regulation Review Committee.

All the Conditions Relate to Pain

Although the amount of conditions qualifying a patient for medical cannabis may appear larger than other states, only 27,340 patients are currently registered to the Connecticut medical marijuana program, a tiny figure when compared to California’s 915,845 patients.

These may be attributed to one condition being left from Connecticut’s list that appears on many other state’s list – Chronic Pain.

All the 8 newly added conditions have chronic pain as the main underlying symptom that they have in common. It appears then that instead of adding the symptom of chronic pain to the list, they are seeking out the conditions that cause chronic pain that medical cannabis can help in alleviating.

Presumably this is in an effort to stop people from just claiming to their health professional that they have chronic pain, which can’t generally be tested for, in order to gain a medical marijuana prescription under false pretense.

However, chronic pain isn’t just limited to the conditions on the list. It is a disability that affects 1 in 4 Americans and it can result in high medical bills and lost wages through the in ability to work. So, although we believe that Connecticut is taking steps forward in allowing access of medical marijuana to more patients who need it, they still have a way to go before their list of conditions is complete.

What Impact Does This Have?

In 2018, Connecticut had the opportunity to legalize recreational cannabis and despite many activists trying to push for this, lawmakers didn’t even consider any bill changes relating to recreational cannabis at all.

Connecticut does sit amongst nearby states such as Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine which have all legalized recreational cannabis and where the latter two have released figures showing that this legislation change has increased the overall revenue related to marijuana sales.

Advocates are also looking to push for more dispensaries and growers who are available to provide cannabis to the state, as it only currently sits at nine dispensaries and four growers for a state whose population sits at 3.6 million people.

The progress being made in states such as Connecticut is in the most part down to cannabis advocates who let their voices be heard. The more people who tell their cannabis related stories causes more people to sit up and listen to try and overturn what many believe is legislation that is outdated and in need of change.

Categories: Medical Cannabis