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Maryland Governor Signs Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana
by Ali Papademetriou
On April 8th, Maryland’s state General Assembly approved HB 1101, a bill that if passed would grant medical facilities the ability to take part in providing medical marijuana to patients if they so choose.
In March, the state’s House of Delegates had passed the legislation with a vote of 108 to 28, and a month following, the Senate passed the bill with a 42 to 4 vote, with 32 of the yeays coming from Democrats, leaving the remaining ten to Republicans.
The legislation describes that medical facilities must apply to “operate medical marijuana compassionate use programs” and an applicant submitted by the medical center must “specify the medical condition to be treated under the program to be operated by the academic medical center proposed on the basis of evidence”.
Also, applicants must “specify the criteria by which the academic medical center will include and exclude patients from participation in the program”, and “specify how patients will be assessed for addiction before and during treatment using marijuana through the program.” Clearly, obtaining even the ability to provide medical marijuana for patients won’t be just any walk in the park if the bill is signed into law.
Also, the bill explains that the medical center applicant must describe the type of marijuana being used in treatment and the treatment style including length of treatment and dosage must be disclosed as well. More details such as how the care providers will be interacting with the patient, plans on monitoring success or failure of the treatment, providing the sources of funding for the program, and information on how potential training for the caregivers will be carried out are all listed in the legislation too.
When asked about the bill by reporters, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said, “I’d like to read it first… but I probably would [sign the bill].” Evidently, the Governor was being truthful when he made that statement last month, because on Thursday, Maryland became the 19th state to legalize medicinal marijuana; Governor O’Malley signed HB 1101 into law.