Medical marijuana is legal in Connecticut, but there's nowhere yet for patients to legally buy it. On Wednesday, the Department of Consumer Protection sat down with its Board of Physicians to discuss more on how they will go about dispensing it.
So far, 400 patients have been given the green light to use marijuana, and the DCP said it's on track to open growers and dispensaries by fall.
The medical marijuana law went into effect last October, but the regulations are still in the rough draft phase.
"We think the regulations as we're proposing them are very tight," said William Rubenstein, commissioner of the DCP. "They control both production and dispensing. They control the way in which patients can be registered."
Currently there are four main categories of disease qualifying Connecticut patients for marijuana: nerve damage, cancer, multiple sclerosis and post traumatic stress disorder.
Marijuana helped patients like Tracey Fanning.
"I am a 6 1/2-year brain cancer survivor, which is an incredible thing to say," Fanning said. "When I was diagnosed in 2006, I was given a life expectancy of three to five years, and it was devastating to hear those words."
She had brain surgeries and radiation and said she suffers from seizures. She said using marijuana is the only thing that has made her feel better.
"It gave me so much of what the disease took away," Fanning said. "I can get out of bed. I can walk. I can speak. My tremors are much less. The daily headaches I have are much more controllable."
And with the help of marijuana, she's living life to the fullest. She's getting married next month, adding three stepchildren to her family, soon to be a total of seven.
"This has given me a way to take the pain away without taking away my life," she said.
DCP officials said it will publish its latest draft on the regulations next week, and will then hold a public hearing on the issues next month.
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