Maryland: Medical marijuana with strict limits
April 07, 2013
Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Maryland will become the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to approve medical marijuana under legislation passed Monday its State Senate and sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley for signature.
Under what O’Malley has called a “yellow light” approach, however, don’t expect dispensaries to pop up behind Camden Yards stadium in Baltimore or amidst the many bars of the East Shore. The distribution of cannabis will be limited to academic medical centers, which will be required to monitor patients and publish findings.
Two of the state’s most prominent medical centers, at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, say they won’t be participating, on grounds that marijuana possession remains a crime under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The Maryland legislation “fails to establish a well-regulated system that allows patients to cultivate their own medicine or safely obtain it from a licensed dispensary,” said Mike Liszewski, policy director with Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group. The group argued that Maryland’s new policy will not make a difference in peoples’ day-to-day lives.
A state commission was set up to oversee implementation of the Maryland medical marijuana legislation.
Another bill, which would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, passed the Senate but died in the Maryland House.