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Medical pot: what's legal, what's not?

In Stamford and across the state, thousands each year still receive stiff fines and jail time for the possession, distribution, and growth of marijuana, which is federally designated as a "schedule 1" drug offense, bringing on the most stringent of sentences. However, like many states across the nation, Connecticut's approach to marijuana and the medically beneficial uses the drug may provide is maturing toward a more modern and comprehensive position.

Medicinal cannabis use was legalized in Connecticut earlier this year. However, before residents jump to presumptions of a free and unfettered marijuana culture, a few key points should be reasserted.

Most importantly, the means of growing and distributing medical marijuana to patients is still to be determined. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is working diligently to define these means, which state legislators will vote on July 1, 2013. However, some things are already clear: chain pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens will not carry medicinal pot. Instead, local pharmacies will serve as dispensaries, and patients will be allowed to prescribed up to 2 ½ ounces at a time only after registering with the state and gaining a doctor's approval.

The cannabis plants will be grown indoors and under heavy security by a number of designated growers numbering more than three but less than ten.

For those suffering from chronic, debilitating pain, medicinal marijuana may prove to be a perfect solution to the symptoms that keep them from enjoying life as they should.

Still, for those planning to buy, sell, grow, or distribute recreational pot, heavy legal consequences could quickly come about. Driving under the influence of marijuana can also quickly result in a DUI. If marijuana-related drug charges become a reality, talking with a criminal defense attorney is the best first step toward a potentially lessened charge or outright "not guilty" verdict.

Source: WTNH, "A closer look at Connecticut's medical marijuana law," Jamie Muro, Nov. 20, 2012

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