Monday, 16 May 2011

Connecticut moves full-steam ahead with medical marijuana bill

(NaturalNews) Legislators in Connecticut are in the process of moving forward with a bill that will legalize marijuana for medical use in the state, despite threats from federal prosecutors who say that they will go after individuals who grow or distribute the plant. If the bill passes in its current form, it will allow doctors to write prescriptions for patients to grow their own marijuana indoors.

"States have a right to decide this for themselves," said Michael P. Lawlor, senior criminal justice adviser for Conn. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, to the Connecticut Mirror. State officials insist that the federal government has no right to call the shots concerning state medical marijuana laws, and that they are prepared to deal with federal backlash should it occur.

Unlike marijuana legislation passed in other states, though, Senate Bill 1015 does not currently contain any provision for marijuana dispensaries. Patients would only be permitted to grow the plant at home, and in a limited quantity. There is a possibility, however, that an amendment may eventually be added to permit dispensaries.

Dispensaries, of course, would make it much easier for patients to obtain marijuana without having to grow it themselves. And several other states, including California and New Mexico, have been operating dispensaries for years without hitch, despite federal policy to the contrary. But others say that dispensaries will, in fact, make Connecticut even more of a target to federal officials, who recently raided dispensaries in both Montana and Washington.

Either way, passage of the SB 1015 with or without an amendment will make Connecticut the 16th state thus far to embrace the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Other states considering new or updated marijuana legalization laws include Washington, Arkansas, and Rhode Island.

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