Last week, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law that legalizes medical marijuana after “determining that the patient has a specified debilitating disease or medical condition and could benefit from its regulated treatment,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“For years, we’ve heard from so many patients with chronic diseases who undergo treatments like chemotherapy or radiation and are denied the palliative benefits that medical marijuana would provide,” said Malloy in the release. “With careful regulation and safeguards, this law will allow a doctor and a patient to decide what is in that patient’s best interest.”
Under the law, patients must receive a doctor’s note to be able to use the drug and register with the Department of Consumer Protection. The patient and his or her primary caregiver can hold up to a one-month supply of marijuana, according to the release.
Some of the conditions people would use marijuana for include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia (emaciation often caused by cancer or cardiac diseases), wasting syndrome, Chrohn’s disease, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other medical conditions, treatments and diseases, according to the release.
“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,” said Malloy in the release. “In my opinion, such efforts run counter to federal law. Under this law, however, the Department of Consumer Protection will be able to carefully regulate and monitor the medicinal use of this drug in order to avoid the problems encountered in some other states.”
Malloy highlighted several safeguards in the release (words are taken directly from the release):
- Unlike California and several other states, patients must have both a physician’s recommendation and a registration form from the Department of Consumer Protection, which is shared with law enforcement.
- Medical marijuana cannot be used in any public place, near children under the age of 18, in buses or other motor vehicles, on school grounds, nor in college dormitories.
- A panel of doctors selected by the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection will determine how much marijuana may be possessed by patients, depending on the type of illness involved.
- Medical marijuana can only be sold legally by registered pharmacists who have been approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, and those pharmacists can only sell marijuana that is produced by special licensed growers. Approved marijuana will be packaged in the same way as prescription drugs according to dosage.
- Doctors recommending marijuana will be carefully monitored through the existing Prescription Monitoring Program in order to identify those who demonstrate a pattern of excessive recommendation of medical marijuana.