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Connecticut Considering Allowing Children Access to Medical Marijuana

Lawmakers in Connecticut’s House of Representatives have overwhelmingly approved a proposal aimed at allowing children suffering from epilepsy and seizure disorders to have access to some cannabis products through the state’s existing medical marijuana program.

The bill, House Bill 5450, was approved by a vote of 129 to 13. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“Connecticut is the only state that bans minors from participating in the state’s medical marijuana program.”

Connecticut’s medical marijuana program was first approved in 2012, but there is no language written into the current law allowing minors to participate in the program. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Connecticut is the only state that bans minors from participating in the state’s medical marijuana program.

govIf the bill passes in the Senate and is subsequently approved by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, it would allow minors under the age of 18 to participate in the program, but they would not have access to marijuana in a “smokable, inhalable or vaporizable form.”

Minors would only be eligible for the medical marijuana program if they are suffering from the following 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 disorders.

Minors would need recommendations from two physicians and consent from a parent before being eligible for medical marijuana. Minors would not be allowed to purchase cannabis products at the state’s dispensaries, an appointed caregiver (such as a parent or guardian) would need to purchase medicine on the minor’s behalf.

The proposed bill also authorizes the Department of Consumer Protection, who oversees the state medical marijuana program, to allow hospitals and higher-education institutions to conduct research on medical marijuana.