Maryland Legal Information

Maryland’s first legal protections for patients were established in 2003 with the Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act, which created an affirmative defense for patients possessing less than one ounce of marijuana that reduced convictions to a misdemeanor offense with a maximum $100 fine. In 2011, Maryland passed SB 308 to recognize specific medical conditions and remove the misdemeanor penalty, but not the $100 fine. In 2013, HB 180 expanded the affirmative defense to caregivers, while HB 1101 allowed “Academic Medical Centers” to conduct medical cannabis research studies and established the Natalie M. LaParade Medical Marijuana Commission (Commission) to create regulations.

In 2014, the Maryland legislature approved HB 881/SB 923, a comprehensive medical cannabis program that expanded and clarified legal protections for patients, caregivers, and physicians, and created a distribution system. Registered patients and their designated caregivers will be allowed to obtain and possess up to a 30-day supply of cannabis. Personal cultivation is prohibited. There are no explicit qualifying medical conditions in Maryland under HB 881/SB 923; instead, physicians must apply for permission to write recommendations for conditions they specify, although the Commission may add explicit qualifying conditions via rule making. 

The was revised by HB 490 (2015), and regulations went into effect on Sept. 14, 2015. In 2016, HB 104 was passed, allowing dentists, podiatrists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, in addition to physicians, to issue written certifications to qualifying patients.

In This Section

Maryland's Medical Cannabis Laws & Regulations

In 2003, Maryland passed the Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act recognizing medical marijuana and establishing a so-called affirmative defense for patients.

Becoming a Patient in Maryland

On May 22, 2003 - Maryland became the ninth state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. signed a bill (which went into effect on October 1, 2003), that applies to defendants possessing less than one ounce of marijuana and who can prove they used marijuana out of medical necessity and with a doctor's recommendation.

Recommending Cannabis in Maryland

No specific qualifying conditions. Patients have an affirmative defense in court if they are under the care of a physician.

Facing state or federal charges?

Unfortunately, patients, caregivers, and providers are still vulnerable to federal and state arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration. They also suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care.