Demystifying Connecticut’s Policy Concerning Medical Marijuana

2013 CPILJ Symposium: The Palliative Use of Marijuana: Demystifying Connecticut's Policy Concerning Medical Marijuana

On May 31, 2012, Governor Dannel P. Maloy signed of on Public Act 12-55 - Connecticut's medical marijuana law. In response to the legislative process that led to the law's passage, the ensuing regulations, and implementation concerns, the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal focused their 2013 symposium on Connecticut's new policies concerned the palliative use of marijuana. On October 25, 2013, a variety of lawmakers, policy experts, and legal scholars gathered to discuss the different approaches to this issue, in front of a packed Starr Hall Reading Room.

Commissioner William M. Rubenstein of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection gave opening remarks in regards to the new regulatory scheme.

Commissioner William M. Rubenstein of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection gave opening remarks at CPILJ's 2013 Symposium.



In his remarks, Rubenstein emphasized that, despite being jokingly referred to as Connecticut’s “Pot Tsar,” the issues surrounding medical marijuana are both important and serious. “It does a disservice to get caught up in the cultural bias that a medical marijuana program is a subterfuge for a gateway to recreational use,” said Rubenstein, who noted that the Connecticut Legislature’s recognition of marijuana as a legitimate pharmaceutical dates back to 1981. “The winks and jokes do a disservice to the seriously ill and trivialize their medical conditions.”



Following Rubenstein’s presentation were two panel discussions featuring a mix of lawmakers, physicians and attorneys. The first panel, titled “The Process of Passing and Implementing Public Act No. 12-55” included: Robert W. Clark ’97, special counsel to the Connecticut Attorney General; State Senator Paul R. Doyle ’90; Elizabeth Ritter, State Representative for Connecticut’s 38th District; and Michelle H. Seagull, Deputy Committee of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Former State Senate Majority Leader Con O’Leary ’82, who supervises the Law School’s Legislative Clerkship Clinic, moderated this panel.

The second panel was titled “Navigating Through a Highly Controversial Regime” and was moderated by Carl Schiesel, III ’84, the director of regulatory advocacy for the Connecticut Hospital Association. This panel included: Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane ’68; John Logan, Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association Professional Ethics Committee; Andrew L. Salner, Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital; Diane Whitney ’85, partner and chair of the Environmental Law Department at Pullman & Comley LLC.

The conclusory keynote address was given by Mark AR. Kleiman, professor of public policy at UCLA, and co-author of Marijuana Legislation: What Everyone Needs to Know. While Kleiman emphasized that the medical benefits of marijuana are “no longer subject to serious debate,” he expressed significant concerns about legalizing marijuana for non-medical use, particularly with regard to “such policy details” as pricing/taxation, regulation, marketing, and product testing and labeling. “When we create a legal cannabis industry. the commercial interests of the participants in that industry wil be flatly contrary to the public interest,” he warned. I”don’t see a good way out of that.”

Mark AR. Kleiman, professor of public policy at UCLA, gave a concluding keynote address at the symposium.

The Connecticut Network has provided a recording of these remarks below.




Many thanks to Symposium editors Christie Jean, Celia Keniry, and Jennifer Valenti who organized the event with the assistance of many members of CPILJ, including Editor-in-Chief Diane Dauplaise.