Proposed Legislation Could Create CT Cannabis Ombudsman Position

There is proposed legislation that would create a cannabis ombudsman in Connecticut. The independent person would serve as a liaison between medical patients and the state to address any concerns.

NB Connecticut reports

“Their choices also diminished dramatically by strain, like Indica or sativa they went maybe down to five of each kind,” Jeff Glidden, of Deep River, said.

It was these frustrations with a different hybrid dispensary that brought Jeff Glidden to the Fine Fettle Dispensary in Newington.

“There is 25 different choices on any given day that are both recreational and medical,” Glidden said.

On Jan. 10, 2023, adult-use cannabis sales began across Connecticut.

With the change in the market, some medical patients expressed concerns in the variety of products available for sale. Advocates took the issue to state leaders.

“The oversight we have had so far has largely not been in service to patients, they do not have a voice in their own program,” Medical Cannabis Patient Advocate Lou Rinaldi said.

House Majority Leader Jason Rojas is pushing for those voices to be heard.

Rojas introduced a bill which would create the position of a cannabis ombudsman in the state to improve quality and safety for medical patients.

“We thought creating a person that can serve as a go between patients and the department might be the appropriate person,” Rojas said.

Rojas said the concept of the bill he proposed has been included in a separate bill, which will be heard by the General Law Committed during a public hearing on Thursday.

“After the public hearing, we will have an opportunity to revise the language to more accurately reflect what the intent is and also reflect what we might hear during the public meeting,” Rojas said.

Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said in a statement:

“The DCP team has worked hard to protect patients since the inception of the program over ten years ago, and continues to do so today. We are aware some patients have expressed concerns regarding the availability of certain products following the opening of the adult-use market and the increase in the allotment for medical marijuana patients to five ounces per month, as allowed by the law. The department is monitoring and evaluating the information in the seed-to-sale tracking system, complaints, and the medical preservation plans as well as communicating with the producers as necessary.  We look forward to working with the legislature and others on finding ways to further ensure that patient input remains at the forefront of Connecticut’s cannabis program.”

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