Rell Undecided On Medical Marijuana


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Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, said today she has not ruled out supporting legislation that would legalize the medical use of marijuana.

"I have mixed emotions on that," she told reporters after attending an event on stem cell research at the state Capitol. "I don't think anyone standing here probably doesn't feel the same way. You would want to do anything possible to alleviate the pain and suffering of any individual."

Connecticut already has a medical marijuana law, one of the first in the nation. Under the 1981 law, a doctor can prescribe the illegal drug to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy and eye pressure from glaucoma.

But the law is unworkable because, under federal law, a physician who prescribes marijuana can be sent to prison and risks having his or her medical license revoked.

"They don't do it for fear of federal prosecution," Rell said.

This year's bill, which cleared the Judiciary Committee last week, would allow residents over 18 with specific debilitating medical conditions diagnosed by a physician to cultivate and use marijuana to relieve symptoms.

Patients with written certification from their physicians would have to register with the Department of Consumer Protection.

Rell said she has concerns about allowing individuals to grow the plants.

"I think we will listen to the debate on that. I do still have some trouble with that aspect of it," she said. "I think it would almost be better if we would be able to go back and say, change the legislation right to allow doctors right now not to be prosecuted if they prescribe marijuana. It makes more sense to me."

The bill awaits further committee action.

Newshawk: CoZmO -
Source: The Hartford Courant (Connecticut)
Author: The Associated Press<cite></cite>
Copyright: 2007 Associated Press<cite></cite>
Website: Connecticut News from The Hartford Courant
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