Connecticut Will Legalize Medical Marijuana – KWQC 6

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by admin No Comments

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut
lawmakers’ approval of the use of medical marijuana includes strict
regulations for the cultivation and distribution in an attempt to avoid
problems other states have run into when legalizing the plant for
medical use.

The bill, passed early Saturday
by the state Senate, is headed to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who
said in a statement that he plans to sign it, as he believes the law
would “avoid the problems encountered in some other states.”

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia
have laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana. Since California
passed the country’s first such law in 1996, states have struggled with
disorganization and clashes with the federal government, which considers
the drug illegal and of no medicinal value.

from California back is trying to get away from chaos,” said Allen St.
Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform
Marijuana Laws.

Advocates say the Connecticut proposal goes further than any other state in regulating the drug.

the legislation, marijuana would be sold in multiple forms at
dispensaries, which must have a licensed pharmacist on staff. It would
be marketed only to patients authorized to use it. The measure also
outlines diseases that would be treated by the drug, establishes a
registry for patients and caregivers and restricts cultivating the plant
to growers with permits.

“Experience has
shown that having statewide structures in place makes it easier for
everyone to understand what the rules really are,” said Alan
Shackelford, who serves on a state advisory work group for medical
marijuana in Colorado and helped advise Connecticut lawmakers on their

Opponents in Connecticut, however, point to a letter from U.S. Attorney David Fein, who wrote 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.

“The violation of a federal law
to me is a big stop sign and I just can’t bring myself to go through
it,” said Rep. Steven Mikutel, a Griswold Democrat who voted against the
legislation when it passed the state House.

addition to federal efforts to shut down dispensaries in California
and, to a lesser extent, Colorado, problems with regulation have arisen
in states where the drug was legalized through ballot initiatives and
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.

Because of this, several states have been taking steps to strengthen regulations.

Colorado imposed tight regulation and state government control over dispensaries in 2010. New Jersey and Delaware also have passed laws to strictly regulate medical marijuana.

California state Sen. Mark Leno
said he was working to enact legislation that would further clarify
that care providers be exempt from prosecution for providing the drug to

But Leno said he is uncertain how
states’ attempts to improve regulation will succeed in reducing federal
scrutiny. He points to small patient-owned and patient-run dispensaries
in his district that the federal government has shut down.

Price, a DOJ spokeswoman, said in a statement the department “is
focusing its limited resources on significant drug traffickers, not
seriously ill individuals who are in compliance with applicable state
medical marijuana statues.”

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