Maryland: Lawmakers Approve Measure To Establish ‘Medical Marijuana Compassionate Use Programs’

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 8, 2013

    Senate lawmakers today voted 42 to 4 in favor of House Bill 1101, which establishes a new 12-member state commission to promulgate medical cannabis research. House members had previously approved the measure, which now goes to the desk of Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to sign it into law.

    House Bill 1101 establishes an independent commission within the state Department of Health. The purpose of the commission is to request applications from academic medical centers to operate ‘medical marijuana compassionate use programs.’ The commission will decide which patients will qualify for the programs and it will license growers to provide cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Medical marijuana patients who are not participants in an authorized medical center program will not be legally protected from arrest. (Existing state legislation allows certain medical cannabis patients to raise an affirmative defense of medical necessity at trial.)

    Full text of House Bill 1101 is available here. Once signed into law, the measure will take effect on October 1, 2013. However, media reports estimate that the programs are not likely to be up and running until 2016.

    25 responses to “Maryland: Lawmakers Approve Measure To Establish ‘Medical Marijuana Compassionate Use Programs’”

    1. TheOracle says:

      So whadda you got in the Mid-Atlantic? Is Jersey the only state getting the MMJ off the ground, off paper and up and running from seed to consumers? If MD implements also instead of keeping it all on paper, you’ve got major parts of the megalopolis from D.C. to northern Jersey. Hook in the Big Apple and Philly. Implement from Boston to D.C. Not just on paper anymore. Feds need to go for the money grab too and count the savings, decide if they want to lay the groundwork for a possible federal tax on cannabis later on down the road. Everyone wants a slice of the money pie.

      Pie graph anyone?

    2. jimmy says:

      “(Existing state legislation allows certain medical cannabis patients to raise an affirmative defense of medical necessity at trial.)”

      This statement confirms that the prohibition is inherently wrong. No one needs to justify their right to be free from pain, without negative side-effects, certainly not in COURT.

      There is one thing that is puzzling to me. There’s another message that belies another statement

      “The commission will decide which patients will qualify for the programs and it will license growers to provide cannabis for therapeutic purposes.”

      This house bill is progressive and a great step forward, to be sure, but it illustrates how strange prohibition policies are, nonsensical but often accepted as the “way things are.”

      Why is it a priority at all to decide who could or should have access to cannabis? It’s a gift of nature and the creator, for all people. Why is it considered normal for people to believe it rational that some will decide for others who can have access? This “decision” is totally 100% arbitrary.

      Prohibition tramples the spirit of the law. Prohibition is a textbook example of Failed Public Policy.

      Let’s limit people’s options in how they want to be treated, or what treatment they would prefer, regardless of their consent.

      Precedent for compassionate use already existed with the Supreme Court. Robert Randall took on the DEA, FDA, NIDA, DOJ, etc, and won in Randall vs. US. Cannabis lowers eye pressure (cannabis use to lower eye pressure was patented already). For a person with glaucoma, who faces losing their vision because of increasing pressure that eventually kills the optic nerve, cannabis is medically useful.

      Randall argued that it was more dangerous, more harmful for Randall to lose his vision than it was to cultivate a plant. Randall won.

      Based on the premise that cannabis truly lowers eye pressure as a side effect, or even as a main effect, the Supreme Court must have acknowledged that cannabis can be used for legitimate medical use, and that, is sufficiently sound as a premise for arguing a medical necessity defense.

      The federal govt, through their grow-op at the University of Mississippi, grew the shwag and sent joints to Randall and other patients for medical use, for a while. The simply ended the program later.

      They probably ended the compassionate use program because they were essentially admitting unspokenly that there is indeed, even one, medical use. And this negates any schedule I designation, causing a quandary among the federal bureaucratic monolith.

      But there are myriad medical uses because external cannabinoids act as agonists on our natural endocannabinoid system we are all born with.

      Another patent: “patent number 6,630,507 states unequivocally that cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson’s, Alzeheimer’s and HIV dementia. The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.”


      A minority of people or interests, should never be able to enforce arbitrary rules on others, especially * everyone else * out of self-interest. Unless we live in a plutocracy.

    3. mark odell says:

      yea, It’s long past overdue! So many lives and families have been separated, damaged, destroyed jailed,and persecuted and prosecuted by the law. And all in the name of injustice.– A law enforced with out reasoning. My only question is why does it take so long for the government to realize and act on what the people want.

    4. freekkc says:



    5. MotherEarthsChoiceNow says:

      I agree with you, Jimmy…we would like to see a Maryland, Medical-Cannabis Patients, and Growers Association established…we need to bridge the gap…Patients; Doctors; Growers have a special Relationship!…In making it all work this work together…false bureaucracy is, still being sticky-handed in another attemp
      to continue to control every aspects of of our lives.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      I like the 42-4 vote for it; the 2016 kick-in date, not so much.

      I’d sure like to see, medical research opened up as well. I have an auto-immune condition called Addison’s disease. JFK had it. Your body stops making ‘hydrocortisone’, so you have to take it supplementally. Before JFK’s time, you had about two years to live.

      I’ve stopped taking ‘hydrocortisone’ for over a year with no ill results whatsoever. There is no way in Hell this condition righted itself. One possible explanation is the marijuana.

      To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all.

    7. bobwv says:

      You know, Treason and genocide must be addictive. They have a hard time kicking the habit.

    8. john says:

      I had a nerve that ruptured and stopped the use of a limb. They cut out the nerve and replaced it with a new one and now I have function in the limb again. I healed from paralysis with medical marijuana.

    9. Lucky lady says:

      plz america don’t be a pain in the ass of the world, legalize weed!

    10. floridian for choice says:

      I am not here to discuss the pros/cons of Medical Marijuana – I am just here to try fight for a choice as a Florida citizen.

      I am not a grassroots activist – just a mid-life Dad who is starting to deal with persitent pain from nerve issues and who wants to be able to explore all reasonable options that would result in an acceptable quality of life without risking my future or my children’s future by breaking the law.

      There are currently at least 16 states that allow Medical Marijuana.
      There is an increasing shift in the number of American adults who view Medical Marijuana as acceptable – http://www.pewresearch.org/

      There are currently 2 bills – one in the house and one in the senate – in Tallahassee that will die this session because the members of our legislature are ignoring them.

      What we can do is collect enough signatures to force the issue on the ballot in the 2014 election and let the voting population of Florida decide.
      I am not affiliated with any of the organizations or groups below but am just doing my small part to address an issue I feel strongly about.

      United For Care ( originally People United for Medical Marijuana ( PUFMM) is backing a signature petition that would force the issue onto the ballot in 2014. Almost 700,000 signatures are needed. There are 8.4 million registered Florida voters – that is only 1 – 12 that we need to sign the petition. This initiative has gained mainstream momentum with the addition of John Morgan as chariman ( head of Morgan and Morgan law firm ).


      The links below lead to Unitedforcare’s website.

      All I hope to see is the opportunity to express my choice at the polls in 2014. – Thanks for reading this.