With the stroke of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s pen, licensed physicians can prescribe medicinal marijuana for adults suffering from certain debilitating diseases or medical condition.
“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,” Malloy said 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.”
Sixteen additional states and the District of Columbia have laws making medical marijuana legal, according to ProCon.org.
The law requires that patients with a debilitating condition receive written certification from a physician and register with the Department of Consumer Protection.
Among the debilitating conditions people can obtain medical 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.
Patients can obtain marijuana from certified pharmacists at licensed dispensaries, who will obtain it from licensed producers and the law allows for the licensing of at least three, but no more than 10, producers statewide.
A board of eight physicians will be involved in deciding the amount of marijuana a patient can have in a one-month supply, depending on their illness, according to a release from Malloy.
“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. 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.”
The law bans the use of medical marijuana in any public place, near children under the age of 18, in buses or other motor vehicles, on school grounds and in college dormitories.
The law also calls for careful monitoring through the existing Prescription Monitoring Program to identify those who demonstrate a pattern of excessive recommendation of medical marijuana.
According to Malloy’s office, Connecticut in 1981 was one of the first states in the nation to pass a law approving medical marijuana, which allowed a doctor to prescribe the substance to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy and the treatment of glaucoma.
The new legislation modifies the existing law.