Connecticut Legislature Approved Bill to Allow Minors Access to Medical Marijuana

A bill that would allow parents and guardians to give liquid or edible medical marijuana to their children has passed both the House of Representatives and Senate in the state of Connecticut. A bill that would expand Connecticut’s medical marijuana program to children has passed the Connecticut Legislature. House Bill 5450 now heads to the desk of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign the bill into law. Under the bill, parents and guardians would be legally allowed to give their children liquid and edible forms of medical marijuana, provided they had acquired the authorization of two physicians. Under the current law, qualified patients must be at least 18 years of age. Cannabis has been found to be therapeutically beneficial for treating epilepsy and other seizure disorders in children. A major cannabis compound, cannabidiol (CBD), has shown to decrease and in some cases eliminate, seizures. CBD’s anti-seizure effects have even proven effective in the treatment of severe pediatric epilepsy disorders like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. “I, along with other parents were holding our collective breath as we watched the discussion,” Dana Haddox-Wright, mother of a 6-year-old girl with Dravet syndrome, told Hearst Connecticut Media. “The passage of Bill 5450 means a great deal to the parents of very ill and medically fragile children in our State. Connecticut is home to some of the greatest minds in the country, and we are fortunate that the bill included language that would allow research to take place on the use of medical cannabis among children with life threatening and devastating medical conditions. We could set a precedent that other States look to for their own pediatric medical marijuana programs. The passage of this Bill brings hope to us, particularly to those of us who are quickly running out of options.” Under the bill, medical cannabis for children is restricted to serious conditions like severe epilepsy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and irreversible spinal cord damage. Children would not be allowed cannabis products that are smoked, vaporized, or inhaled. After the bill initially cleared the House of Representatives, it underwent four hours of debate before the Senate approved it with a 23-11 vote on Friday, April 29. If signed into law, the bill would affect approximately 100 children in Connecticut, according to legislative testimony. Connecticut adopted medical marijuana legislation in 2012, but dispensaries didn’t open for business until 2014. Qualifying patients must be residents of Connecticut, and must not be inmates or under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Under the law, medical marijuana can be recommended for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)cachexiacancer, complex regional pain syndrome, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucomaHIV or AIDS, intractable spasticitymultiple sclerosisParkinson’s disease, post-surgical back pain, post laminectomy syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sever psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, sickle cell disease, ulcerative colitis, and other medical conditions such approved by the state. As of May 1, there were 10,026 registered medical marijuana patients, according to the state’s Department of Consumer Protection. Once signed into law by Gov. Malloy, HB 5450 will take effect on October 1.]]>