Medical marijuana took a very important step forward in Maryland today. The state House of Delegates approved HB 1101 in an overwhelming vote of 108 yes to 28 no. The legislation now moves on to the state Senate for consideration where its chances of passage look good.
If the bill is approved it would create a very limited and highly regulated medical marijuana system in the state. The bill would establish a Medical Marijuana Commission. Academic medical centers could apply to the commission to run medical marijuana compassionate use programs. Qualified patients with specific medical conditions would be allowed to get therapeutic marijuana from these medical centers. Even if the bill is approved, it would likely take a few years before the system would be fully implemented
Efforts to get medical marijuana approved in Maryland received a very big boost earlier this month when Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) administration dropped its objection. Last year O’Malley said he would veto a proposed medical marijuana bill because of threats that the federal government would possibly go after state employees who take part in administrating medical marijuana programs. Over the past year the possible federal prosecutions have not materialized in other states so the administration feels more comfortable about allowing medical marijuana to go forward.
Photo by Holley St. Germain released under Creative Commons License