Senate Debates Legalizing Medical Marijuana
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Senate Debates Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 09, 2010 at 12:03:34 PT
By Steve Lash, Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer
Source: Daily Record
Annapolis, MD -- Legislation to permit marijuana use by people with severe chronic pain sparked heated Senate debate Thursday between a two-time cancer survivor who supports the bill and a physician who fears doctors would “over-prescribe” the illegal drug.Sen. David R. Brinkley, who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989 and melanoma in 1995, said marijuana provides the best and safest relief for people living with constant pain. But Sen. Andrew P. Harris, an anesthesiologist, expressed deep concern that the legislation could be abused by treating physicians or lead unethical doctors to exploit the law by starting a side business of growing marijuana for medicinal use.
The Senate is scheduled to continue its consideration of the measure Friday morning.If the legislation is enacted, Maryland would become the 15th state that permits medicinal marijuana use without penalty. Maryland currently allows medicinal use to be asserted as an affirmative defense to a marijuana-possession charge. But the defense, if successful, merely reduces the penalty to a $100 fine.“Whether we like it or not,” thousands of desperate Marylanders in severe chronic pain are getting marijuana illegally from drug dealers, said Brinkley, R-Carroll and Frederick. Brinkley, who said he did not use marijuana when he had cancer, would prefer that these patients receive the treatment legally and under the care of their physician rather than illicitly through the “black market.”Harris, though expressing sympathy for those in severe pain, countered that the legislation does not place sufficient constraints on physicians. The measure also does not bar doctors from growing the drug and then recommending it to patients, he said.“This will solve our physician shortage problem in Maryland,” said Harris, R-Harford and Baltimore counties. “Where is the oversight of the physician?”But Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, a co-sponsor of the bill, defended the legislation as creating “a carefully controlled and regulated system” in which both patients and would-be growers of marijuana would have to receive prior permission from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.“It [the legislation] is about getting the drug dealers out of the medical marijuana business and the doctors into it,” Raskin said.Doctors would remain subject to their professional obligations, as enforced by the Maryland Board of Physicians, added Raskin, D-Montgomery. Regulating The Players  The measure, Senate Bill 627, would enable a patient’s regular treating physician to recommend marijuana for “a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition” that causes severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms or “any other condition that is severe and resistant to conventional medicine.” Patients with these conditions would have to receive an “identification card” from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene affirming they are qualified for marijuana treatment.The application for the card would have to include a statement from the regularly treating physician that the patent has “a debilitating medical condition for which recognized drugs or treatments would not be effective.” The doctor would also have to state that “the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient.”Growers of medical marijuana would also have to be certified by the department.To get certification, the grower would have to cultivate the marijuana in Maryland, meet security and safety requirements set by the department and pass a criminal background check.The certified grower, and any pharmacy dispensing marijuana, would be barred from hiring anyone who has been convicted of possessing or selling a controlled dangerous substance. The grower would also have to submit to testing of the marijuana to ensure its consistency and that it has not been adulterated or contaminated.“I don’t think you can write a more airtight program” to permit the medicinal use of marijuana while preventing its illicit use or sale, Raskin said.“There are thousands of our constituents” who want the General Assembly to pass this bill, Raskin told his colleagues. “They are suffering.”But Harris reiterated the need for stricter limits in the bill to prevent doctors from over-prescribing marijuana and prohibit them from seeking the department’s authorization to grow the drug.If passed by the Senate, the measure would move to the House of Delegates for its consideration.The 14 states that allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that lobbies for the drug’s legalization.The growing national movement to allow marijuana use to treat severe chronic pain received a boost in October, when the Obama administration announced it will not prosecute cases against individuals whose use of marijuana is in compliance with state law.Source: Daily Record, The (MD)Author: Steve Lash, Daily Record Legal Affairs WriterPublished: April 8, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Daily RecordWebsite: tom.linthicum mddailyrecord.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on April 10, 2010 at 20:29:26 PT
I wonder what that's about?
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on April 10, 2010 at 20:26:38 PT
The Post quoted Joyce Nalepka.
From the article: A handful of opponents attempted to corner lawmakers outside the Senate chamber before the vote. "This is the most important bill of the year," said Joyce Nalepka, of Silver Spring. "Our kids are dying ... [drugs] are more dangerous than war."
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 10, 2010 at 20:18:24 PT
Comment 6
Joyce was there.This is an odd article.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 10, 2010 at 18:32:54 PT
We're on a roll. It's so nice to see change happen. It has been only a dream for so many years and now the time has come.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 10, 2010 at 18:19:41 PT
"The Maryland Senate voted on Saturday to allow patients access to medical marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries. The bill now moves to the state's lower chamber.The bill was approved overwhelmingly, with bipartisan support and without objections or discussion, by a 35-12 margin."
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 10, 2010 at 15:33:11 PT
News Article From The Washington Post Blog
Medical Marijuana Bill Finds New High in MarylandApril 10, 2010URL:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 10, 2010 at 13:34:29 PT
News Article From The Huffington Post Blog
Medical Marijuana Bill Moves Through Maryland Senate In LandslideApril 10, 2010URL:
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on April 09, 2010 at 17:29:53 PT
A note from the ASA;
Last week, when we began to unveil our strategy to win, we told you that we are committed to a 2013 victory-ensuring the framework for all Americans to have safe access to medical cannabis. We told you that we are going on the offensive; that we are through with putting out fires, responding to one narrow minded and misguided attack after another. We told you that this ends now and we are focused where we need to be on winning safe access, and winning it federally.
We wrote that over the course of this month, each week we would outline a different part of the strategy-our road map to win is divided into a series of core goals, and this week I want to tell you about our top three national goals to assure safe access for every American. 
1. Move the federal government to recognize the medical properties of marijuana. 
2. Create new federal polices to protect patients' rights by changing current federal policies for veterans and patients who live in government subsidized housing who legally use medical cannabis in their state. 
3. Dramatically increase our grassroots base of activists in key states, and across the nation, to compel federal action on the previous two goals.
We know that we have a 3 year window with this Administration (maybe longer, but we must be prepared for any political landscape). While 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical cannabis laws there is still no safe access until federal law changes. Our elected officials will not act unless we pressure them to do so. Together we can make this happen! Last week, we told you that in order for ASA to begin fully working towards a 2013 victory we needed to raise an additional $20,000-many of you responded so generously to that need and if you did, we thank you. It is because of your commitment to this movement that we are able to make these inroads, and it is your support that will catapult our movement to victory. If you haven't given yet, it is my hope that you'll make a contribution today. We have raised a third of our budget for the year, but we still need to raise another $1.6 million to implement our strategy. Without your support, we will not see a 2013 victory. Our opponents are better funded than ever before, and we must match them dollar for dollar in this fight if we have any chance of winning. Your support will be what makes the difference between our movement forced into a defensive, reactionary position or a victory in 2013. Choose victory.
I'll be back next week with more of ASA's roadmap to win. Until then, thank you as always for your incredibly meaningful support.
In Solidarity,
Steph Sherer
Executive Director
To thank those that gave last week, I'll be sending out an invitation to a private conference call with me where I'll discuss the strategic plan and answer any questions you may have. If you give before the end of today, we'll make sure you have a chance to be on that call.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on April 09, 2010 at 14:20:10 PT
one more thought
Who do you think "over-prescribes" more....a professional doctor with the DEA breathing down his or her neck?or a street-level dealer? that's where the patients are going now. "Excuse me sir, do you I'm using TOO MUCH of this cannabis?? Should I buy less?"The politicians ultimately want the police hovering over all people in the underclasses, controlling everything they do. With medical MJ, politicians have a very simple choice. Do you want a jack-boot on the neck of sick people, or not? They prefer the boot every time, because they want the boot on EVERYBODY'S neck! They want the proletariat masses to be $500K in debt and criminals for a half dozen different activities. That is the equation for maximum exploitation.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on April 09, 2010 at 14:15:39 PT
don't you love it when career politicians criticize the moral fiber of doctors?? what a joke!btw - news flash guys - doctors over-prescribe EVERYTHING!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 09, 2010 at 13:22:55 PT
Senate Advances MMJ: House Vote Not Likely
Senate Advances Medical Marijuana; House Vote Not Likely***By Robert Lang and Associated PressFriday, April 09, 2010MD: Maryland senators have advanced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.Senators backed a procedural move on Friday that will allow a final vote on the measure.That final vote could come as early as Saturday.The proposal would allow pharmacies to distribute marijuana to patients who receive authorization from a physician with whom they have had ongoing medical relationships. It would also re-categorize marijuana as a highly regulated pain medication like morphine instead of keeping it in the same category of drugs like heroin.The bill has bipartisan support. An aide to House Speaker Michael Busch says members of a House group studying a similar bill will probably hold it for review during the months before next year's session, meaning the measure is not likely to become law this yearCopyright: 2010 Hearst Radio Inc. AP Material Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressURL:
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