Legal Protections Passed for MMJ Caregivers
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Legal Protections Passed for MMJ Caregivers
Posted by CN Staff on April 01, 2013 at 18:29:59 PT
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun
Source: Baltimore Sun
Maryland -- The General Assembly has passed a law that allows caregivers of patients who use medical marijuana to possess up to an ounce of pot without being convicted of a crime."We are expressing our belief that people who are sick should be able to access the drug without civil or criminal penalties," said Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat who introduced the bill.
Patients are protected under a 2011 law that allows them to use medical necessity as an "affirmative defense" in court if caught with marijuana and drug paraphernalia. On Monday, the House of Delegates voted 92-37 to approve a bill extending that defense for patients' caregivers. The Senate has passed the same bill.The measure now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley's desk. Spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said he has not decided whether to sign it.Under the bill, caregivers  as well as patients  could still be charged with a crime for possessing the drug. But the legislation spells out how caregivers could prove themselves not guilty because they had the drug and paraphernalia to help a family member who takes it for medical reasons. If defendants can prove an affirmative defense, they can admit to the circumstances of the crime but still be found not guilty. Self-defense is an example of another type of affirmative defense.Raskin said current law provides that legal reprieve to patients with serious illnesses who, under a doctor's care, take marijuana to lessen symptoms. Without the bill approved this week, Raskin said, those patients are not able to get the drug without their caregivers facing jail time.To use the affirmative defense, a caregiver must be 21 years old, a Maryland resident, an immediate family member of the patient and have been designated as the caregiver in writing before being arrested for possession. In addition, the caregiver can't have criminal convictions for drugs or violence and can only be a caregiver to one patient.The bill is among several marijuana laws being considered in Annapolis this session.The House, but not the Senate, has approved creating the state's first medical marijuana program, which would distribute the drug to patients through academic centers. The O'Malley administration supports that bill.The Senate, but not the House, has approved a bill that makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana  roughly one-third of an ounce  a civil offense instead of a criminal one.Another bill that would completely decriminalize marijuana, then regulate and tax it like alcohol, received a committee hearing in the House but has not been voted on. Lawmakers have until the General Assembly adjourns April 8 to pass legislation this year.Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)Author:  Erin Cox, The Baltimore SunPublished: April 1, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Baltimore SunContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 05, 2013 at 17:22:06 PT
State Senate Gives Preliminary OK to MMJ Bill
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun April 5, 2013 Maryland -- The General Assembly is poised to pass legislation that would make Maryland the 19th state to legalize marijuana use for medical reasons.The state Senate gave the legislation preliminary approval Friday evening without debate.The bill, which has already passed the House, would allow marijuana to be distributed by doctors and nurses through academic medical centers. A commission would be set up to spell out the terms under which it would be grown for medical use and dispensed.The O'Malley administration this year withdrew it earlier opposition to such a bill.The bill's sponsor, Del. Dan Morhaim, a physician and Baltimore County Democrat, called it "landmark" legislation for Maryland. He said it would create a "safe and responsible" program for providing marijuana to cancer patients and others with medical conditions that their doctors and nurses believe could benefit from it.But Dan Riffle with the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for legalization of marijuana, said the bill's reliance on academic medical centers could slow or even thwart patients' access, since the state's teaching hospitals may fear getting involved as long as federal law continues to classify marijuana as illegal.Copyright: 2013 Baltimore SunURL:,0,7638937.story
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on April 02, 2013 at 16:36:54 PT
5 Nano's will punish innocent.
Pot driving limits win unanimous approval in Colo. House
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