Published September 24. 2014 7:04PM Updated September 25. 2014 8:46AM

Montville — Scott D. Bailey of Griswold, a veteran who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a motorcycle accident more than three decades ago, was one of three patients in the waiting room Wednesday afternoon at the region’s only medical marijuana dispensary on the first full day that the facility was able to fill cannabis prescriptions.

For Bailey, who said he previously had been using marijuana illegally to treat his PTSD, the opening of the Thames Valley Alternative Relief dispensary was long awaited and much appreciated. He expects to max out the monthly state limit of 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana.

“It relaxes me and helps keep me from reliving the nightmares I’ve faced,” Bailey said.

Bailey, badly burned in the accident and, according to his wife, not given adequate care at the Naval Submarine Base hospital, said he has been arrested twice for possession of marijuana, which is the only thing that relieves his condition.

“The last time, I was told if I was arrested again, they would throw the book at me,” said Bailey, who is retired and receives disability benefits.

Laurie Zrenda, co-owner of the Route 32 dispensary in Uncasville, said Bailey will never have to worry about being arrested for the possession of medical marijuana.

Registered users of the drug — who can receive it only if they have certain specific debilitating medical conditions including cancer and multiple sclerosis — are exempt from arrest as long as they follow guidelines on where and with whom they can use it. Regulations, for instance, prohibit its use in the workplace or in the presence of anyone under 18 years old.

Zrenda said it’s also easy for police to spot legal marijuana from the illegal variety because regulations require the drug to be preground to …read more