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At Last, Connecticut Takes the Plunge and Partially Legalizes Medical Marijuana

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Health Issues page, and our Connecticut News page.

Legislation that allows certain medical patients to access marijuana for medicinal use has been signed into law in Connecticut, making the Constitution State the 17th in the nation to at least partially deregulate marijuana for medical use. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has officially signed into law H.B. 5389, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana, which permits state-registered patients or their caregivers with doctor approval to access marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the timeline of the bill's approval has been short, with the Connecticut House of Representatives having approved the bill in a 96-51 vote on April 25, and the state Senate following suit with a 21-13 vote of approval on May 6. On May 31, Gov. Malloy officially signed the bill into law.

"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 Governor Malloy in a statement. "With careful regulation and safeguards, this law will allow a doctor and a patient to decide what is in that patient's best interest."

Set to go into effect on October 1, 2012, H.B. 5389 will permit dispensaries to obtain marijuana from licensed producers, producers who will be required to pay a fee to the state of nearly $25,000. Only patients with certain debilitating conditions, which include cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries causing spasticity, epilepsy, wasting Crohn's disease and PTSD will be eligible to receive marijuana under the program.

Though the legislation is considered to be the most restrictive among all the states that have passed medical marijuana measures, it is still a step in the right direction. Eventually, it is hoped that Connecticut and many other states will end their needless prohibition of marijuana and fully legalize the natural plant for everyone.

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