Twenty states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. Many of these states still don’t have the framework in place to make that legalization a reality, however. Recently, Connecticut, which legalized the medical marijuana program in 2012, announced medical pot would finally be available for purchase by summer 2014.
Governor Dannel Malloy made the announcement that four vendors have been authorized to sell medical marijuana to those patients authorized to use it. Those four dispensaries were selected among a pool of 27 applicants, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. There likely would have been more had the state not charged high, non-refundable application fees.
So far, the state has authorized 1,684 patients for the use of medical marijuana, patients who are no doubt looking forward to being able to purchase their medicine from an authorized vendor. The state’s law allows for 11 specific conditions to be treated with the use of medical pot.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord “with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity”
- Wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
“Possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana is a civil violation in Connecticut, punishable by a fine of up to $150. It is not a jailable offense. Subsequent offenses are subject to increased fines of $200-$500, and upon a third violation, offenders are referred to a drug awareness program. Most importantly, though, those accused of being in possession are not arrested or saddled with a criminal record. In addition to the fine, anyone under 21 who is found in possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana faces a 60-day suspension of his or her driver’s license.”
Those retailers who will be opening their doors for business later this year include: Theraplant LLC, in Watertown; Advanced Grow Labs, LLC, in West Haven; Curaleaf, LLC, in Simsnury, and Pharmaceutical Solutions, LLC, in Portland.
Read: 5 FAQs About Recreational Marijuana in Colorado
The battle for our right to use a healing plant as medicine is a long one. After all, more states still ban marijuana for any use than those that allow it for medical use. And only two so far have legalized it outright. But, change is coming, slowly but surely.
The legalization of marijuana begins with a shift in the perception of marijuana. That is happening now. Recent polls show that for the first time, the majority of Americans support legalization—minds are changing. But along with changing the minds of the public, we must change the minds of the lawmakers, a far more daunting task.
Generally, lawmakers have been conditioned to consider all drug as evil—worthy of arrests, jail time, and shaming. But some are beginning to realize marijuana is not like other “drugs”. Instead, it’s a plant with a wide range of medical benefits and with far fewer side effects than conventional drugs.
Change is coming.
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