Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection will begin accepting research application on Oct. 1 that would allow approved hospitals, growers, universities, and dispensaries to conduct medical cannabis research, the Hartford Courant reports. The research would supplement the limited federal research on the palliative effects of the plant.
The plan is included with recent reforms to the state’s limited medical marijuana program, which will also allow patients under 18 to access medical cannabis.
Jonathan Harris, commissioner of the department, said the program not only helps patients “suffering from serious diseases” but offers doctors alternative treatment options and creates “good jobs” in the state.
“With this new research program, Connecticut could become the focal point for medical cannabis research and add to the strong bio-tech base already here,” he said in the report.
Currently, just 259 people are employed in the state’s medical cannabis industry; the Department of Consumer Protection suggests that number “could increase significantly” under the new rules.
Matthew Katz, executive vice president and CEO for the Connecticut State Medical Society, said the new rules are “a step in the right direction” and “allow for an increased amount of research in the area of the effectiveness as well as the other aspects of medical marijuana … the side effects and more that really needs to be studied.”
According to Harris, the program would make Connecticut the first to have an “organized, focused research program.” The state reclassified cannabis as a Schedule Two drug in 2012.
Currently, there are 13,434 patients enrolled in the Connecticut medical marijuana program, with four licensed growers and eight dispensaries.
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