Medical Marijuana Bills Moving Forward

040414_Marijuana-briefLegislators in the House and Senate of Maryland’s General Assembly are tasked with resolving the differences between two medical marijuana bills that were passed by each body.

SB 923, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin, would allow doctors in good standing to prescribe medical marijuana. The bill passed the upper chamber, 45-1. HB 881, sponsored by Delegates Dan Morhaim, Cheryl Glenn and many others, was filed in the House at the same time as the Senate bill and passed earlier this session, 126-10. It would allow doctors affiliated with hospitals or hospices to prescribe marijuana, according to Rachelle Yeung, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project.

Morhaim said legislators are operating in good faith and trying to get the best bill possible passed.

“People are clearly for it and just trying to develop the best plan which does what we want it to do, which is to get medicine to people as fast as possible,” he said.

“People are suffering, and it’s gone on way too long.

Ninety percent of Marylanders support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes if prescribed by a doctor, according to figures released in March by The Goucher Poll.

“At this point, key members of the Senate and the House will either have to get together formally or informally on which of the two bills they’d like to pass,” said Yeung.

The House bill was heard in a Senate committee and did not move, and a House committee heard the Senate bill on Tuesday. The differences between the bills could be worked out this week.

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