Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation that officially makes his the 21st medical marijuana state in America.
The law known as HB 881 will allow patients with severe cases of wasting syndrome, pain, nausea, muscle spasms and seizures to use medical marijuana without fear of prosecution so long as they get a doctor’s approval, obtain an ID card, and get their cannabis from a licensed collective.
O’Malley also signed a bill, SB 364, that essentially decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, turning it into a ticket-worthy offense. That makes Maryland one of 17 states that has done so. Earlier this month the governor said this:
"I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgement of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health."
Both signings were celebrated by medical and decriminalization advocates. Mike Liszewski, Americans for Safe Access’ policy director, said this about the medical bill:
"We’re excited to welcome Maryland as the 21st medical marijuana state. Maryland’s medical marijuana law will at long last provide patients with needed protection from arrest and prosecution, and give them a means to safely and legally obtain medical marijuana."
The state actually passed what ASA is calling a “skeletal medical marijuana law” way back in 2003 but, until this bill, really couldn’t implement the aims of getting cannabis to patients, the organization says.
The latest legislation puts dispensaries into legal motion, which is key. - the420times