Maryland Medical Marijuana Defense Measure Sent To Governor

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. Maryland Medical Marijuana Defense Measure Sent To Governor

    March 27, 2003 - Annapolis, MD, USA

    Annapolis, MD: Maryland Senators voted Wednesday in favor of legislation to allow medicinal marijuana patients to raise an "affirmative defense of medical necessity" at trial. The bill, which previously passed the House of Delegates, now goes to Gov. Robert Ehrlich for his appoval.

    Although Ehlrich has said that he supports the limited use of marijuana as a medicine, he has not taken a specific position regarding this bill. As a federal Congressman, Ehrlich backed a proposal that would have rescheduled marijuana so that state laws legalizing the drug would no longer conflict with federal law.

    Maryland's legislation does not legalize the use or cultivation of medical marijuana by qualified patients. Rather, the law only requires the court to consider a patient's use of medical marijuana to be a mitigating factor in marijuana-related state prosecutions. If the patient successfully makes the case at trial that his or her use of marijuana is one of medical necessity, then the maximum penalty allowed by law would be a $100.00 fine. Existing Maryland law imposes a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1000.00 for marijuana possession, regardless of the circumstances.

    The Senate backed the measure despite federal pressure from Drug Czar John Walters and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, who argued that the medical use of marijuana was "immoral" and a "cruel hoax."

    For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. For detailed information on additional pending legislation, please visit:

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