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Medical Marijuana Blog

​A medical marijuana bill, House Bill 15, has been filed in the Maryland General Assembly, and would establish cannabis dispensaries for the seriously ill. But a state panel charged with making recommendations on medical marijuana last month failed to find consensus, instead presenting two divergent plans.

Their report, released in December, outlines competing plans to implement Maryland’s medical marijuana law, which was passed last April and does not take the step of actually legalizing cannabis outright. The Legislature will be left to decide which of the two plans — if either — will be chosen for the distribution of medicinal cannabis in the state, reports Erin Cox at Hometown Annapolis.

Photo: John Doe Radio

​Maryland will soon become the 16th state to remove criminal penalties for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Maryland Legislature has passed an affirmative defense bill abolishing criminal penalties for patients who use cannabis to relieve the effects of debilitating medical conditions.

After the House of Delegates approved an amended version of the bill over the weekend, the Senate on Monday approved those amendments, sending the bill to the desk of Governor Martin O’Malley. Aides to the Governor have indicated publicly he would sign a medical marijuana defense bill.
“With the passage of this bill, the General Assembly has let seriously ill patients know they are not criminals for seeking relief from their pain and suffering,” said Senator David Brinkley, the primary sponsor of the Senate bill. “It will also establish a framework to build on in moving forward with more comprehensive solutions so that some day soon patients will be able to obtain their medicine in dignity and not on street corners. I thank my colleagues in both chambers for today’s compassionate vote.”

Graphic: Patients for Medical Cannabis

​After a nine-year effort, one Maryland lawmaker may finally succeed this year in his quest to reduce criminal penalties for medical marijuana use.

Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick County) is one of the lead sponsors of a bill that would allow medical marijuana users to be found not guilty on criminal possession charges and would establish a study at a research university regarding the use of medicinal cannabis in general, reports Meg Tully at The Frederick News-Post.
The Maryland House of Delegates gave the bill a preliminary OK on Saturday. If the House acts — as scheduled — to vote on it Monday, then Brinkley said he thought the bill would become law.

Graphic: Cannabis Fantastic

​The Maryland Senate is expected to take up final approval of a medical marijuana bill this week, after giving it a preliminary OK on Tuesday. Although the bill has been drastically amended since being introduced, its sponsor said he still feels it represents progress.

The bill, proposed by state Sen. David Brinkley of Frederick County, will now allow people charged with use or possession of marijuana to argue before a judge that they did so out of medical necessity, reports Meg Tully of the Frederick News-Post. If a judge agrees, the person would be found not guilty of the charge, known as an “affirmative defense.”

Photo: Marijuana Policy Project
Montel Williams: “Every day that they delay is another one of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state”

​Multiple sclerosis patient and media celebrity Montel Williams will speak at a press conference Monday in Annapolis in support of legislation that would make Maryland the nation’s 16th state allowing physician-approved use of medical marijuana.

Williams grew up in Baltimore, where his father was the city’s first African-American fire chief, Montel graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis and retired from the U.S. Navy as a decorated Naval Intelligence officer after more than two decades of service before starting his second career as a TV talk show host.
In 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Following his diagnosis, he created the Montel Williams MS Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness of the disease and providing inspiration to those who live with MS.
Williams has advocated for the compassionate use of medical marijuana in a number of states that have approved or are considering new laws.
Montel will be joined at the Maryland press conference Monday by the chief sponsors of the state’s medical marijuana legislation: physician and Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Senators Jamie Raskin and David Brinkley, both cancer survivors.

Photo: yasni.de
Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin: “Politicians should not get in the way of people getting the medical relief they need”

​Just weeks after a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland failed last spring, the state senator who sponsored the legislation — Jamie B. Raskin of Montgomery County — found himself with a very personal perspective on the issue.

His doctor told him he had a “worrisome” mass the size of a golf ball in his colon. Raskin, 48, learned four days later he had cancer, reports Ann E. Marimow at The Washington Post.
“Public health is now personal for me,” Raskin said. “I know what it means for people to be living on the absolute edge of hope and despair, and politicians should not get in the way of people getting the medical relief they need.”
Raskin, a Democrat, will be a leading voice on several issues during the legislative session, according to the Post, but when he talks about medical marijuana he’ll add a compelling personal story to the debate over whether Maryland should join 15 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.
Raskin said he didn’t consider medical marijuana during his chemotherapy because of a family history of asthma and cystic fibrosis. But he insists that he and his fellow legislators should work “to relieve suffering.” Medical marijuana, according to proponents and patients, can ease pain and nausea and stimulate appetite for those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Graphic: Medical Marijuana Blog

​Republican state Senator David Brinkley wants to renew efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland. Brinkley said if he is reelected, he will introduce a bill that would not only protect medical marijuana patients from arrest, but would also address the issue of providing authorized patients with safe access to cannabis, rather than forcing them to obtain it on the black market.

A similar bill passed the Maryland Senate last session, but failed in the House of Delegates, reports Arlene Borenstein at NBC Washington.
Defendants charged with use or possession of marijuana can argue medical need as a mitigating factor in their sentencing under Maryland’s current “affirmative defense” law. But judges can still fine patients $100, even if medical necessity is proven.

Graphic: Medical Marijuana Blog

​The Maryland Senate on Saturday voted 35-12 to pass SB 627, a bill that would allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation, and receive safe access to their medicine through state-licensed dispensaries.

The bill now moves to the state House. The General Assembly’s session ends Monday night.
“I’m very proud of my Senate colleagues today for voting to provide some of our most vulnerable residents with the compassion and care that they deserve,” said Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick), the bill’s sponsor and a two-time cancer survivor.

Graphic: MarylandMedicalMarijuana.com

​Maryland’s Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 Monday night to pass SB 627, a bill that would provide qualified patients with safe access to medical marijuana and protection from arrest for using the medicine that works best for them.

The bill now moves to the full state Senate for consideration.
“This vote represents the biggest victory to date for supporters of an effective medical marijuana law in Maryland,” said Dan Riffle, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Graphic: Marijuana Policy Project

​On Thursday, March 18, the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will receive testimony on SB 627, a bill that would make Maryland the 15th state in the nation to have an effective medical marijuana law.

Sponsored by Frederick County Republican Sen. David Brinkley, the bill would allow state-regulated outlets to to dispense medical marijuana to patients who receive a recommendation from their doctor.
The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Senate President Mike Miller, Minority Leader Allan Kittleman, Minority Whip Nancy Jacobs, and Deputy Majority Leader Robert Garigiola, among others.
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