Maryland medical marijuana reform bill heads to Senate floor


Access to medical marijuana is one step closer in Maryland as the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee approSved a measure allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis in that state as well as allowing licensed growers to produce the plant at licensed treatment centers.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote. The state House has already given approval to the bill, however Senate changes would require a second approval of the House before the bill could move to the governor for signature.
One of the biggest changes was limiting licensed growers to a two-year license, at which point they would have to submit for a license renewal. The House version of the bill allowed growers five years between renewals. Sen. Jamie Raskin said the change was necessary due to the large demand for growers.
“We do understand that there’s investment that’s being made by the businesses that are going into growing, but apparently there’s no shortage of candidates and people expressing interest in it, and we think that a two-year license would more than justify the upfront investment they would have to make,” Raskin said.
The Senate version of the measure also removes a 10-grower cap, instead allowing the state department of health to set a limit down the line. The bill would also limit shops to two dispensaries per senate district.
The proposed laws come in response to Maryland’s failed medical marijuana program that was approved in 2013 but never gained support from local universities that were to be charged with studying and distributing the plant.