Maryland House Committee Debates Three Medical Marijuana Bills
The Maryland House Judiciary Committee yesterday heard testimony from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including some cancer survivors, in support of three medical marijuana-related bills, the Washington Times reports. The bills would legalize marijuana for people with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer and AIDS (Biemer, AP/Washington Times, 3/15). One bill (HB 1222) would allow "certain individuals who have certain medical conditions" to possess marijuana and related drug paraphernalia "under certain circumstances." The measure would allow individuals "related" to medical marijuana users to also possess marijuana and related paraphernalia under certain circumstances and states that certain laws related to drug paraphernalia "do not apply to the medical use of marijuana." The bill also would require the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue registry cards to individuals qualified to use marijuana for medicinal purposes (HB 1222 text, 3/14). The second bill (HB 504) would allow a person prosecuted for marijuana possession "who claims to have [marijuana] possession as a result of medicinal use" to "assert as an affirmative defense that the possession of marijuana is medically necessary due to a medical condition." The bill would also allow a medical marijuana user prosecuted for possession to introduce as defense evidence information regarding his or her medical condition and the "medical necessity" of using marijuana (HB 504 text, 3/14). A third bill (HB 24) applies to court cases involving marijuana possession and requires courts to "consider as a mitigating factor any evidence of medical necessity" of marijuana in such cases (HB 24 text, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.