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Connecticut governor signs new medical marijuana bill into law


HARTFORD, Conn.—Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed new medical marijuana legislation into law Friday that expands its previously permitted use.

A statement issued by the office of Gov. Malloy, a Democrat, said the legislation permits licensed physicians to certify an adult patient's use of medicinal marijuana after it is determined the patient has a specified debilitating disease or medical condition and could benefit from its regulated treatment.

The new law includes several safeguards designed to prevent potential abuse and carefully control its handling, according to the statement.

“For years, we've heard from so many patients with chronic diseases who undergo treatment like chemotherapy or radiation and are denied the palliative benefits that medical marijuana would provide,” said Gov. Malloy in the 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.”

Conditions that qualify as debilitating under the legislation include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

The statement says that unlike in California and several other states, to receive medical marijuana under the new Connecticut law, patients must have a physician's recommendation and a registration from the state Department of Consumer Protection, which is shared with law enforcement, among other provisions.

Connecticut became one of the first states to approve medical marijuana use in 1981, when it approved legislation that allowed a doctor to prescribe it to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy and the treatment of glaucoma.

“The new legislation modifies the existing law to make it more workable and ensure that the necessary patients are benefiting from its treatment,” said the statement.

Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia have laws that permit medical marijuana use, according to Washington-based NORML, an advocacy organization for marijuana's legalization.

Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco held in a case brought by disabled California residents that California cities are not violating the Americans with Disabilities Act when they crack down on marijuana dispensers because its use is illegal under federal law.

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