HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday signed a law approving the use of medical marijuana, a measure that includes strict regulations in an attempt to avoid problems seen in some of the 16 other states that have legalized the drug.
Patients will be able to obtain marijuana only from certified pharmacists, and the number of marijuana producers will be limited to 10 statewide.
Malloy, a Democrat, said the Department of Consumer Protection will be able to carefully regulate and monitor medicinal use of the drug. (Click here to see the Consumer Protection FAQ on the program)
“We don’t want Connecticut to follow the path pursued by some other states, which essentially would legalize marijuana for anyone willing to find the right doctor and get the right prescription,” Malloy said. “In my opinion, such efforts run counter to federal law.”
Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, said the adoption of the law in Connecticut means roughly 110 million Americans live in areas where medical marijuana is legal. Such laws are currently in place in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
He said approval in Connecticut is also significant because it came about through the rigors of the legislative process, while in many other states it became law through ballot initiatives.
“Legislation affirms society’s support for something far more than a plebiscite,” St. Pierre said.
Federal efforts have moved to shut down dispensaries in California and Colorado, and problems with regulation have arisen in states where the system was implemented without regulations in place, advocates say. Likewise, some states don’t allow medical marijuana dispensaries and patients are left to grow their own.
The U.S. attorney for Connecticut, David Fein, has said that while the Department of Justice would not go after seriously ill patients who use the illegal drug, federal laws would be enforced against those who manufacture and distribute it.
Doctors in Connecticut would be able to prescribe marijuana to patients who suffer from certain specified illnesses, such as cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Qualifying patients and their primary caregivers would be able to possess a combined one-month supply of marijuana.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)