Today the Connecticut Senate passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, becoming the 17th state to do so. The District of Columbia also allows for the medical use of marijuana.

Connecticut hopes to avoid problems that other medical marijuana states — cough, cough, California — have seen. After all, marijuana is still federally prohibited, and the new Connecticut law is designed to prevent abuse or anything else that might tick off the federal government. (You know, like a well-stocked weed dispensary on every corner.)

Under the bill, patients and their caregivers must register with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, their doctors must certify that there is a medical need for marijuana to be dispensed, like in the case of debilitating diseases like cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy.

On the surface, this law sounds strict, but we'll see how long until the chillest doctors find a way around it. In other states, marijuana is prescribed for anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among other conditions.

Still no word on when marijuana will just be legalized, but it's probably not wise to hold one's breath. (Unless you're trying to keep the smoke in your lungs longer.) And marijuana laws continue to change internationally — just last week, Dutch courts upheld a law preventing tourists from buying legal marijuana in coffee shops.

[Image via AP]