Maryland Senate Considers Allowing MMJ with a Doctor’s Note

Yesterday morning, the Maryland state Senate voted on a proposal that would allow people with certain chronic or terminal illnesses a sort of “get out of jail free” card if they’re arrested for smoking marijuana.

The bill, which was re-written to make it more palatable to anti-medical-marijuana legislatures, includes verbiage calling for a study group to determine the best way for Maryland to establish a limited medical marijuana program, and also includes the requirement that academic institutions must apply to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) in order to institute programs where cannabis is distributed to patients.

Senator Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), one of the sponsors of the bill, told the press, “The politicians have caught up with the public. People believe the seriously ill should have access to marijuana if they need it for therapeutic proposes.”

Right now, patients who can prove their marijuana use is meant to relieve pain are subject to a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $100. Under the new proposal, smoking pot or owning “paraphernalia” would be decriminalized for such patients, as long as a doctor attests that the drug is necessary. Doctors would be protected because they cannot be reprimanded for merely giving the opinion that a patient would benefit from the use of marijuana.

Selling marijuana to patients would remain illegal, however, and users would have to secure their supplies from black market sources.

Earlier in this legislative session, a broader measure designed to establish a complete medical marijuana program in Maryland died after Joshua Sharfstein, the newly-appointed DHMH Secretary voiced opposition to it in a committee hearing. When asked about the current proposal, Sharfstein said he had “no position” on it, though he does support studying a limited program with plans to create a legal framework for it during the 2012 legislative session.

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5 Responses to Maryland Senate Considers Allowing MMJ with a Doctor’s Note

  1. Medicator says:

    Well I guess a get of jail free card is better than nothing. At least Maryland is taking baby steps in the right direction. It seems like everyday we are getting more information that tells us change is coming. The momentum just needs to be revved up a bit.

  2. lindzzz says:

    I believe that it is a baby step in the right direction, but it is wrong to ask people with chronic or terminal illnesses to secure their medicine from drug dealers. Any state that allows the use of medical cannabis should also allow for some safe and legal way for people to procure it. I hope that the patients in Maryland are allowed in some way to collectively grow for themselves, otherwise they will have to deal with possibly dangerous people in order to get something that a doctor has recommended they use.

  3. Medicator took the words right off of my keyboard. Slow progress is always better than no progress. Change does take a long time and the potential patients of Maryland will have their patience tested.

  4. Chief says:

    Wait, so they can get out of jail but they still can’t buy the medication. Well at least they acknowledge that since they can’t legally but it they are forced to go with illegal options. Maybe one of these days they will approve the use of cooperatives and clubs so that nobody over there has to break the law.

  5. Bud Selektor says:

    Agreed that baby steps in the right direction is still movement in the right direction. Co-ops are such an important necessity in each community. People should be able to medicate themselves as they see fit. Once these states start to realize the tax money potential, I hope that it provides them with enough incentive to move even more forward.