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Maryland Goes Green For Medical Cannabis !


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THis makes for 16 mmj sTATES !!!

 

"Maryland should soon join 15 other states in saying patients who use cannabis on the advice of their doctors are not criminals. The Maryland House of Delegates this month passed SB 308, an amended version of an earlier bill that was sent to them by the state Senate. Aides to Governor Martin O'Malley have said that he will sign the measure.

 

SB 308 provides an affirmative defense at trial for qualified patients charged with the non-public use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.

 

"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," Senator David Brinkley, the primary sponsor of the Senate bill, told the media.

 

Currently, patients who are charged with possession or use of cannabis can present a limited "medical necessity" defense that can reduce their conviction to a misdemeanor with a $100 fine. Medical cannabis patients testified before that Maryland legislature that they suffered hardship as the result of having a criminal record, including losing their jobs.

 

Patients who don't qualify for the full affirmative defense under the new law will still have the opportunity to present evidence of medical necessity under the old one.

 

Americans for Safe Access and other patient advocates urged legislators to pass a more robust version of the bill that would have protected patients from arrest and established a state-run production and distribution system. That version was diluted due to objections from the new administration's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and House committee members.

 

ASA helped craft the compromise bill, including a provision that creates a state work group to develop a model program for future legislation that would protect patients from arrest and establish a system of licensed cultivation and distribution.

 

"Maryland medical cannabis patients shouldn't fear the shame of arrest or the cost of prosecution," said Kristen Ford of Americans for Safe Access. "We are eager to work with the health department and the legislature to craft a more patient-friendly bill next year."

 

Once signed by Gov. O'Malley, Maryland's new medical cannabis law will take effect June 1.

 

More information:

Text of SB 308

Amendments to SB 308 "

 

Dr. Jinx

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