Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 6566

January Session, 2011

 

LCO No. 4376

 

*04376_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMPASSIONATE USE OF MARIJUANA.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) As used in sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Compassionate use" means the acquisition and distribution, possession, cultivation, use or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to marijuana to alleviate a qualifying patient's symptoms or the effects of such symptoms, but does not include any such use of marijuana by any person other than the qualifying patient;

(2) "Debilitating medical condition" means cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome, receiving services in a hospice licensed pursuant to the Public Health Code or certified as a hospice pursuant to 42 USC 1395x, or any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease approved by the Department of Consumer Protection pursuant to regulations adopted under section 11 of this act;

(3) "Department" means the Department of Consumer Protection;

(4) "Licensed producer" or "producer" means any person or association of persons within this state that the department determines to be qualified to produce, possess, distribute and dispense marijuana pursuant to sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act and that is licensed by the department pursuant to regulations adopted under section 11 of this act;

(5) "Marijuana" has the same meaning as provided in section 21a-240 of the general statutes;

(6) "Paraphernalia" means drug paraphernalia, as defined in section 21a-240 of the general statutes;

(7) "Physician" means a person who is licensed under the provisions of chapter 370 of the general statutes, but does not include a physician assistant, as defined in section 20-12a of the general statutes;

(8) "Primary caregiver" means a person, other than the qualifying patient and the qualifying patient's physician, who is eighteen years of age or older and has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of the qualifying patient with respect to the compassionate use of marijuana, provided (A) in the case of a qualifying patient lacking legal capacity, such person shall be a parent, guardian or person having legal custody of such qualifying patient, and (B) the need for such person shall be evaluated by the qualifying patient's physician and such need shall be documented in the written certification;

(9) "Qualifying patient" means a person who is eighteen years of age or older and has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition;

(10) "Usable marijuana" means the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixtures or preparations thereof, that are appropriate for the compassionate use of marijuana, but does not include the seeds, stalks and roots of the plant; and

(11) "Written certification" means a statement signed by the qualifying patient's physician stating that, in such physician's professional opinion, the qualifying patient has a debilitating medical condition and the potential benefits of the compassionate use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks of such use to the qualifying patient.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for the compassionate use of marijuana if:

(1) The qualifying patient has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition;

(2) The qualifying patient's physician has issued a written certification to the qualifying patient for the compassionate use of marijuana after the physician has prescribed, or determined it is not in the best interest of the patient to prescribe, prescription drugs to address the symptoms or effects for which the certification is being issued;

(3) The combined amount of marijuana possessed by the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver for compassionate use does not exceed an amount reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability for a period of three months, as determined by the department pursuant to regulations adopted under section 11 of this act, provided such amount is derived solely within this state; and

(4) The cultivation of such marijuana occurs in a secure indoor facility.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to:

(1) Any compassionate use of marijuana that endangers the health or well-being of another person; and

(2) The compassionate use of marijuana (A) in a motor bus or a school bus, as defined respectively in section 14-1 of the general statutes, or in any moving vehicle, (B) in the workplace, (C) on any school grounds or any public or private school, dormitory, college or university property, (D) at any public beach, park, recreation center or youth center or any other place that is open to the public, or (E) in the presence of a person under the age of eighteen. For the purposes of this subdivision, "presence" means within the direct line of sight of the compassionate use of marijuana or exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke, or both.

(c) A qualifying patient shall not have more than one primary caregiver at any time. A primary caregiver may not be responsible for the care of more than one qualifying patient at any time. A primary caregiver who is registered in accordance with subsection (a) of section 3 of this act shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for the acquisition, distribution, possession, cultivation or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia related to marijuana on behalf of a qualifying patient, provided the amount of any marijuana so acquired, distributed, possessed, cultivated or transported, together with the combined amount of marijuana possessed by the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver, shall not exceed an amount reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability for a period of three months, as determined by the department pursuant to regulations adopted under section 11 of this act, provided such amount is derived solely within this state. For the purposes of this subsection, "distribution" or "distributed" means the transfer of marijuana and paraphernalia related to marijuana from the primary caregiver to the qualifying patient.

(d) Any written certification for the compassionate use of marijuana issued by a physician under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section shall be valid for a period not to exceed one year from the date such written certification is signed by the physician. Not later than ten days after the expiration of such period, or at any time before the expiration of such period should the qualifying patient no longer wish to possess marijuana for compassionate use, the qualifying patient or the primary caregiver shall destroy all marijuana plants and usable marijuana possessed by the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver for compassionate use.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Each qualifying patient who is issued a written certification for the compassionate use of marijuana under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 2 of this act, and the primary caregiver of such qualifying patient, shall register with the Department of Consumer Protection not later than five business days after the issuance of such written certification. Such registration shall be effective until the expiration of the written certification issued by the physician. The qualifying patient and the primary caregiver shall provide sufficient identifying information, as determined by the department, to establish the personal identity of the qualifying patient and the primary caregiver. The qualifying patient or the primary caregiver shall report any change in such information to the department not later than five business days after such change. The department shall issue a registration certificate to the qualifying patient and to the primary caregiver and shall charge the fee established in regulations pursuant to section 11 of this act for a registration under this subsection. Any registration fees collected by the department under this subsection shall be paid to the State Treasurer and credited to the account established pursuant to section 16 of this act.

(b) Upon the request of a law enforcement agency, the Department of Consumer Protection shall verify whether a qualifying patient or a primary caregiver has registered with the department in accordance with subsection (a) of this section and may provide reasonable access to registration information obtained under this section for law enforcement purposes. Except as provided in this subsection, information obtained under this section shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200 of the general statutes.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Nothing in sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act shall be construed to require health insurance coverage for the compassionate use of marijuana.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) A qualifying patient or a primary caregiver may assert the compassionate use of marijuana as an affirmative defense to any prosecution involving marijuana, or paraphernalia relating to marijuana, under chapter 420b of the general statutes or any other provision of the general statutes, provided such qualifying patient or such primary caregiver has strictly complied with the requirements of sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act.

(b) No person shall be subject to arrest or prosecution solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the compassionate use of marijuana as permitted under sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) A physician shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by the Connecticut Medical Examining Board or other professional licensing board, for providing a written certification for the compassionate use of marijuana under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 2 of this act if:

(1) The physician has diagnosed the qualifying patient as having a debilitating medical condition;

(2) The physician has explained the potential risks and benefits of the compassionate use of marijuana to the qualifying patient and, if the qualifying patient lacks legal capacity, to a parent, guardian or person having legal custody of the qualifying patient; and

(3) The written certification issued by the physician is based upon the physician's professional opinion after having completed a full assessment of the qualifying patient's medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) A licensed producer shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for producing, distributing or dispensing marijuana pursuant to sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, a licensed producer who sells, distributes, dispenses or transfers marijuana to a person who is not approved by the department pursuant to sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act, or a licensed producer who obtains or transports marijuana outside of this state in violation of federal law, shall be subject to arrest, prosecution or civil or criminal penalties pursuant to the laws of this state.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Any marijuana, paraphernalia relating to marijuana, or other property seized by law enforcement officials from a qualifying patient or a primary caregiver in connection with a claimed compassionate use of marijuana under sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act shall be returned to the qualifying patient or the primary caregiver immediately upon the determination by a court that the qualifying patient or the primary caregiver is entitled to the compassionate use of marijuana under sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act, as evidenced by a decision not to prosecute, a dismissal of charges or an acquittal. Law enforcement officials seizing live marijuana plants as evidence shall not be responsible for the care and maintenance of such plants. This section does not apply to any qualifying patient or primary caregiver who fails to comply with the requirements for the compassionate use of marijuana under sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Any person who makes a fraudulent representation to a law enforcement official of any fact or circumstance relating to the compassionate use of marijuana in order to avoid arrest or prosecution under chapter 420b of the general statutes or any other provision of the general statutes shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

(b) Any person who makes a fraudulent representation to a law enforcement official of any fact or circumstance relating to the issuance, contents or validity of a written certification for the compassionate use of marijuana, or a document purporting to be such written certification, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall establish an advisory board consisting of eight physicians or surgeons who are knowledgeable about the compassionate use of marijuana and certified by the appropriate American board in one of the following specialties: Neurology, pain medicine, pain management, medical oncology, psychiatry, infectious disease, family medicine or gynecology. The commissioner shall select the members from a list submitted by the Connecticut Medical Society. Four of the members first appointed shall serve for a term of three years and four of the members first appointed shall serve for a term of four years. Thereafter, members shall serve for a term of four years and shall be eligible for reappointment. Any member may serve until a successor is appointed. At the first meeting of the advisory board, the board shall select a chairperson from among its members.

(b) A quorum of the advisory board shall consist of three members.

(c) The advisory board shall:

(1) Review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the compassionate use of marijuana;

(2) Accept and review petitions to add medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the compassionate use of marijuana;

(3) Convene at least twice per year to conduct public hearings and to evaluate petitions, which shall be maintained as confidential, for the purpose of adding medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the compassionate use of marijuana;

(4) Issue recommendations concerning regulations to be adopted for the issuance of the registry identification cards; and

(5) Establish amounts of marijuana that are reasonably necessary to ensure uninterrupted availability for a period of three months for qualifying patients.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to establish (1) a standard form for written certifications for the compassionate use of marijuana issued by physicians under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 2 of this act, and (2) procedures for registrations under section 3 of this act.

(b) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to establish a reasonable fee to be collected from each qualifying patient to whom a written certification for the compassionate use of marijuana is issued under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 2 of this act, for the purpose of offsetting the direct and indirect costs of administering the provisions of sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act. The commissioner shall collect such fee at the time the qualifying patient registers with the Department of Consumer Protection under subsection (a) of section 3 of this act. Such fee shall be in addition to any registration fee that may be charged under said subsection. The fees required to be collected by the commissioner from qualifying patients under this subsection shall be paid to the State Treasurer and credited to the account established pursuant to section 14 of this act.

(c) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to implement the provisions of sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act. At a minimum, such regulations shall:

(1) Govern the manner in which the department considers applications for the issuance and renewal of registration certificates for qualifying patients and primary caregivers, and establish any additional information to be contained in such registration certificates;

(2) Define the amount of marijuana that is necessary to constitute an adequate supply, including amounts for topical treatments;

(3) Identify criteria and set forth procedures for adopting regulations to add additional medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the compassionate use of marijuana, which procedures shall include a petition process and shall allow for public comment and public hearings before the advisory board;

(4) Add additional medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the compassionate use of marijuana as recommended by the advisory board;

(5) Establish requirements and procedures for licensing producers and marijuana production facilities; and

(6) Develop a distribution system for compassionate marijuana that provides for:

(A) Marijuana production facilities within this state housed on secured grounds and operated by licensed producers; and

(B) Distribution of marijuana for compassionate use to qualifying patients or their primary caregivers to take place at locations that are designated by the department and are not within one thousand five hundred feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school, a public housing project, a licensed child day care center, as defined in section 19a-77 of the general statutes, or a church, chapel, meetinghouse or other building generally used for religious worship.

(d) The commissioner shall submit regulations pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section to the standing legislative regulation review committee not later than January 1, 2012, after consultation with the advisory board established in section 10 of this act.

Sec. 12. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) During the period beginning on the effective date of this section and ending thirty days after the effective date of regulations adopted pursuant to section 11 of this act, a person who would be determined to be a qualifying patient, except for the lack of effective regulations concerning registry identification cards, licensed producers, marijuana production facilities, distribution systems and amounts of marijuana, may obtain a written certification from a practitioner and upon presentation of that certification to the department, the department shall issue a temporary certificate for the compassionate use of marijuana. The department shall indicate on such temporary certificate the amount of marijuana that may be possessed pursuant to such temporary certificate. The department shall maintain a list of all temporary certificates issued pursuant to this section and the information on such list shall be confidential to the same extent as provided for information under section 3 of this act.

(b) A person possessing a temporary certificate and the person's primary caregiver shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, civil or criminal penalty or denial of any right or privilege for possessing marijuana if the amount of marijuana possessed collectively is not more than the amount specified on the temporary certificate.

(c) A practitioner shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner or denied any right or privilege for recommending the medical use of marijuana or providing written certification for the medical use of marijuana pursuant to this section.

Sec. 13. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Action" has the meaning provided in section 47a-1 of the general statutes;

(2) "Dwelling unit" has the meaning provided in section 47a-1 of the general statutes;

(3) "Employer" means a person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state and any political subdivision of the state;

(4) "Landlord" has the meaning provided in section 47a-1 of the general statutes;

(5) "School" means a public or private elementary or secondary school in this state or a public or private institution of higher education in this state; and

(6) "Tenant" has the meaning provided in section 47a-1 of the general statutes.

(b) Unless required by federal law or required to obtain federal funding:

(1) No school may refuse to enroll any person or discriminate against any student solely on the basis of such person's or student's status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver under sections 1 to 12, inclusive, of this act;

(2) No landlord may refuse to rent a dwelling unit to a person or take action against a tenant solely on the basis of such person's or tenant's status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver under sections 1 to 12, inclusive, of this act; and

(3) No employer may refuse to hire a person or may discharge, penalize or threaten an employee solely on the basis of such person's or employee's status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver under sections 1 to 12, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 14. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) There is established a compassionate marijuana administration account which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund. The account shall contain any fees collected pursuant to subsection (a) of section 3 of this act, the fees collected pursuant to subsection (b) of section 11 of this act, and any other moneys required by law to be deposited in the account, and shall be held in trust separate and apart from all other moneys, funds and accounts. Any balance remaining in the account at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward in the account for the fiscal year next succeeding. Investment earnings credited to the account shall become part of the account. Amounts in the account shall be expended only pursuant to appropriation by the General Assembly for the purpose of providing funds to the Department of Consumer Protection for administering the provisions of sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 5

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 6

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 7

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 8

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 9

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 10

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 11

from passage

New section

Sec. 12

from passage

New section

Sec. 13

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 14

July 1, 2011

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To allow for the compassionate use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating medical conditions.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]