The tightly controlled pot production facilities will sell their weed through pharmacies that will have to set up separate dispensing areas. Patients with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for a limited number of conditions will be able to have up to 2.5 ounces of pot a month.
Those conditions include things like HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress syndrome, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and several other major ailments.
As of June, just 660 patients had been certified by physicians to become registered for medical marijuana in this state. Some estimates put the potential patient market in this state at more than 50,000.
"It's very difficult to actually quantify what the eventual numbers will be," Williams says. He points out that experts generally use 1.5 percent of a state's population when trying to figure out the potential medical marijuana patient market.
Rubenstein and state lawmakers insist Connecticut's proposed regulations are likely the strictest in the nation, designed to treat medical marijuana like any other prescription drug. And when we say "tightly controlled" grow facilities, the new rules govern things as small as requiring that workers with access to the pot wear uniforms without pockets.
The goal, state officials say, is to avoid the freewheeling weed extravaganzas that happened in states like California, where almost anyone could get marijuana from a multitude of storefront dealers.
Despite those sorts of problems, business analysts across the nation are closely tracking this emerging pot industry. Some have compared this point in time to the end of Prohibition in the early 1930s, when some cagy entrepreneurs managed to make the transition from underground bootleggers to big-time booze magnates.