Public weighs-in on medical marijuana regulations - KCTV5

Public weighs-in on medical marijuana regulations

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The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection held a public hearing on proposed regulations for the state's new medical marijuana law.

On Monday, members of the general public testified on the wide-ranging package of rules passed by the General Assembly and signed into law last year.

The goal of the hearing was to get this program up and running, but also to make sure it's effective and safe.

While it is legal for people with certain debilitating diseases to use marijuana, details on how and where patients can get it are still being worked out by lawmakers.

"I use medicinal marijuana," said Tracey Gamer-Fanning. "I am breaking the law right now because we don't have growers and distributors here in Connecticut."

Six years ago, Fanning was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She suffered seizures and headaches until she began using marijuana.

"The first time I ever did it," she said. "I got my life back."

Fanning spoke out in support of medical marijuana.

"The illnesses are bad, but the drugs are even worse," said Fanning, while testifying at the public hearing Monday.

While medical marijuana changed her life, she said, allowing her to live more fully, there are many in the state concerned about potential abuse.

Fanning was among dozens who spoke at the hearing.

In Connecticut, patients with only 11 conditions can get a doctor's approval. It's the state's DCP job to come up with the rules and regulations for supplying it.

The state still needs growers and places to dispensaries, where the marijuana will be legally sold.

Officials said they're looking at possibly limiting the number of growers and dispensaries and the hope is to get them opened by this fall.

"We have put a lot of work into this," said Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein . "And we think we have the best safest system in place anywhere in the country."

Rubenstein said he looked at a number of states to see what was best for Connecticut. His staff went to Maine, as did Eyewitness News,  to see how their program works.

During the hearing, people said they were concerned about youth and making sure they don't get the wrong message.

Businesses owners tried to learn more about producing and dispensing.

One of those interested is Ethan Ruby, who was paralyzed by a drunk driver. He said marijuana has relieved a lot of his pain and he wants to be one of the state's 10 growers.

"The more education, the more people will understand it," Ruby said.

So, far 300 people have signed up to be a part of the program, yet it will take months before people can buy it.

It could take until next year before a system is in place to legally sell marijuana to patients who need it.

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