The Maryland House approved and denied medical marijuana bills today, sending one on to the Senate for approval and shooting another down in committee.
A bill that would have allowed medical marijuana in the state, House Bill 302, was given an unfavorable report and was withdrawn by it's sponsor, Del. Cheryl Glenn earlier today according to the Maryland legislative site.
While that technically isn't the end for the bill, that's more than likely the case for this legislative session. According to a legislative aid, bills are sometimes withdrawn for further study and could be resubmitted, but bills receive unfavorable reviews rarely make it back to the floor for a vote she added.
Which is unfortunate. Glenn's proposal was much less intrusive and requires far less government bureaucracy than other proposals are. House bill 302 would have created a dispensary system more like ones existing in other states that would be overseen by the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Patients would have been allowed up to six ounces of marijuana at a time that they could cultivate themselves with up to twelve plants at a time.
The death of Glenn's bill doesn't mean the end for medical cannabis in Maryland this session, though. Earlier today the Maryland House approved a third reading of what is now the remaining medical marijuana proposal before the Maryland legislature, HB 1101.
House Bill 1101 would create a government-run commission that would allow for medical marijuana to be distributed through state academic medical centers. Information on patients and the efficacy of treatment would be reported to the state health department, which would report its findings to the state legislature for review.
The bill doesn't discuss patient possession limits or even the chance of personal cultivation, however. Details like that would be presumably left up to each individual research program. The only limits set in the bill would be limiting research centers to a maximum of five growers per program. The bill now moves on to the Senate.
A third medical marijuana-related bill before the House this session, HB 1100, was given an unfavorable on March 19.
As we've reported, Maryland is heavy with marijuana proposals this session. Last week the Senate approved a bill that would decriminalize up to ten grams of cannabis, making it a civil penalty with a $100 fine. A proposal that would legalize small amounts of marijuana, House Bill 1453, is still alive - though stalled in a House committee.