Maryland Revives Medical Cannabis Program, Passes Decriminalization

Maryland lawmakers have revamped the state’s medical marijuana program by establishing a framework of rules that is similar to those found in other medical marijuana states.

The new program dissolves the state’s previous medical marijuana plan, which many saw as fatally flawed, and will open the door for hundreds of business opportunities across the board.

The measure – called HB 881, which was signed into law Monday morning by Gov. Martin O’Mally – allows the state’s marijuana commission to grant physicians the power to recommend the plant to patients. Patients can then purchase marijuana from a network of state-licensed dispensaries.

Under the law, the state will allow up to 15 medical marijuana cultivators. It does not specify how many dispensaries will be allowed to open. Patients that suffer from severe pain, nausea, wasting syndrome, anorexia, severe muscle spasms and “any other condition that is severe and for which medical treatments have been ineffective if the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by medical marijuana” can qualify for the program.

The inclusion of severe pain and nausea could help Maryland become a sizable medical marijuana state, with potential revenues in the tens or even hundreds of millions depending on the exact framework the state develops.

The law will go into effect on June 1, however legislators predict it will take about 15 months for the program to get up and running.

Additionally, lawmakers approved a decriminalization bill that makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense. That law goes into effect on Oct. 1.

Maryland must now approve additional regulations to govern the medical marijuana industry. Dr. Paul Davies, chairman of the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission, said his 14-member group would develop and propose regulations to the state by September.

The new program replaces Maryland’s previous medical marijuana system, which lawmakers approved in 2013. Under that program, responsibility for administering medical marijuana was given to academic medical centers. None of the state’s academic centers have indicated that they want to participate in the program.

2 comments on “Maryland Revives Medical Cannabis Program, Passes Decriminalization
  1. Judy n on

    Dr. Paul Davies has no interest in helping patients, as the Chairman of the State’s Medical Marijuana Program he and the commission should have already done their homework and been standing ready to present their proposals to whomever needs to review them , he is a Doctor who in my opinion is in the back pocket of big pharmaceutical companies, why should patients have to wait 15 more months to get medicine? If the law was signed in April by Governor O’Malley, it takes as little as 90 days to grow some medical strains of Marijuana, there are people banging down the doors to become growers and dispensaries in Maryland so really let’s say it could take as little as 4 months to get the medicine to patients if they truly wanted too, but the “Commission” will not present their proposal until September to the powers that be – which is 5 months after the bill was signed by the Governor of this State! Please 15 months is too long, while a mother watches her two babies suffer from more than 30 seizures a day, others with cancer suffer, those with multiple sclorosis, people who suffer from pain and muscle spasms caused by other maladies, those with HIV/AIDS must wait at least 15 more long months while these beaurocrats figure it out, in reality they have already had more than 18 months for discussion, the time now is for action……I am just extremely frustrated by all the bears racy, Marylanders do not count on this ever really happening, it’s another 2003/2012 Medical Marijyana in Maryland fable, in a mid-term election year, they will drag it out until after the elections, then postpone it again until the 2016 elections roll around and use it then to get our votes! I call BS on this, if they cannot get it to the people who need it inside of 6 months it is never going to happen!!!

    Reply
  2. Judy n on

    Spell check got me again, should read beaurocracy not bears racy, does not recognize the word beaurocracy? Also Marijyana s/b Marijuana…..would not allow me to edit?

    Reply

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