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Maryland: House Bill Excludes Marijuana As Parole Violation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Parolees in Maryland who use or possess small amounts of marijuana would no longer be violation of their sentences under a bill narrowly approved by the Maryland House of Delegates last week.

The bill, which squeaked by on a 10-vote margin, comes a year after Maryland voted to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. It heads to the Senate for consideration, report Ovetta Wiggins and Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post.

Proponents say it's important for the rules of probation and parole to mirror criminal law, and not to penalize people for offenses that are no longer criminal. Opponents of the bill claimed it would undermine aspects of the criminal justice system intended to keep former inmates on a "positive path," which apparently to these morons means encouraging them to drink rather than the safer alternative of using cannabis.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis isn't a violent offense, said Del. Jay Walker, one of dozens of benighted Democrats who voted against the bill, but drug possession is related to the "drug culture -- the most violent culture we have."

But Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the legislation, said the bill is "an attempt to keep nonviolent offenders out of the system."

"The spirit is to include all offenses that have been moved from criminal to civil," Moon said.

Maryland: House of Delegates Advances Medical Marijuana Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Last year, the Maryland Legislature passed a completely useless medical marijuana law which limited distribution to a small number of approved academic medical centers. None of those centers, surprise surprise, were willing to participate, so patients were still left without any safe access. Now, legislators are looking to fix the law to help patients actually obtain cannabis. On Saturday, the House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would increase safe access to medical marijuana.

The House of Delegates on Monday plans to vote on a bill by Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County) which would loosen its current law and replace the non-functional system created last year with one that works, reports Michael Dresser at The Baltimore Sun.

"The important thing to recognize is that there are thousands of Marylanders who could be helped in the short and long term," said Morhaim. "We're missing a tremendous economic opportunity to exploit this plant and use it in an intelligent, properly scientific, research way."

Lawmakers heard extensive testimony this year about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis to patients with epilepsy, the side effects of chemotherapy, auto-immune disorders and other medical conditions. The bill would allow physicians to authorize patients to use medical marijuana outside the medical center setting.

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