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Word of the week
Word of the week: ombudsman
There are a lot of words and phrases thrown around the cannabis industry that may be unfamiliar to most (even your average stoner). So I thought I’d start a new weekly section dedicated to demystifying the jargon, Money Puff’s ‘word of the week.’
This week’s word is not specific to cannabis, but it’s been a big talking point on weed policy twitter this week. The word is ‘ombudsman,’ as in (emphasis added):
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.
Merriam Webster defines ‘ombudsman’ as, ‘an individual usually affiliated with an organization or business who serves as an advocate for patients, consumers, employees, etc.’ I think that guy Lou Rinaldi wants to be the ombudsman, but I’m not sure. According to his pinned tweet, it’s been a long process:
If Lou ever gets to put on his ombudsman hat or robe or crown or whatever, he’ll have a lot to advocate for; medical menus in the state have been shrinking since adult-use sales began last month. Is that due to limited supply of ‘medical’ cannabis? No, of course not — it can all be medicine, and there’s plenty to go around.
This is about a limited license market not meeting the needs of consumers. A medical patient has a different profile than your average, casual consumer. They are well informed, often have very specific product preferences, and have a deliberate ordering cadence.
For example, Amy, a medical patient out of Bristol, orders from Trulieve quarterly. Trulieve is the city’s only cannabis dispensary, and was just approved for adult-use sales under a hybrid license. So now all the good people of Bristol — your average, canna-curious consumers — are buying up all the supply and leaving Amy out in the cold.
Oh, and Trulieve? They were approved under a ‘social equity’ plan while having legal counsel that is also a sitting state representative. Good luck, Lou.