Maryland MMJ Work Group Fails to Reach Consensus on Best Way to Approach Medical Pot

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If you think voters are split on medical marijuana, check out the debate among members of a work group in Maryland created to make recommendations on the issue.

The group – which consists of legislators, patients, scientists, law enforcement officials and health care professionals – simply couldn’t agree on how the state should structure a medical marijuana program, or even if it should adopt one at all.

“We’re all over the place, just like a lot of people are,” Howard Schiff, head of a state pharmacist association and a member of the panel, told the Cumberland Times-News.

State health officials created the group to make a recommendation to the Maryland General Assembly about medical pot. Lawmakers seem willing to move forward with an MMJ law, or at least consider one, but they want to proceed with caution.

Many members of the group reportedly are concerned that marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law, even for medical use. Other worries center around the usual suspects: crime, oversight and the potential for abuse.

Given the split, the group issued two recommendations. One suggests creating an infrastructure that would allow patients throughout the state to obtain medical pot under a regulated distribution system. The other would be much more limited, allowing universities to dispense marijuana to patients who would serve as test subjects for research.

An MMJ bill has been filed that is more along the lines of the first proposal, though it could be overhauled and tweaked along the way.