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Maryland: Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

(Illustration: Splice Today)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to eventually allow seriously ill patients safe access to medical marijuana. The bill, HB 1101, would allow academic medical research centers to apply for licenses to distribute medicinal cannabis to qualified patients.

The Senate on Monday voted 42-4 to approve the bill, which has already been passed by the Maryland House of Delegates, sending the legislation to the desk of Governor Martin O'Malley, reports The Associated Press.

Unlike 18 other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws that allow patients to obtain medicinal cannabis by growing it themselves or by purchasing it from state-licensed businesses, Maryland's law requires that patients obtain their medicine only from a limited number of research hospitals approved to conduct medical marijuana research.

Maryland: Senate Poised To Vote On Medical Marijuana Bill

(Photo: CBS Baltimore)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With just a day left in the session, the Maryland General Assembly is poised for a landmark decision on giving seriously ill patients safe access to medical marijuana.

"If everything runs true to form, the Senate will say yes to allowing medical centers to dispense marijuana," predicts Pat Warren of CBS Baltimore.

"If it helps people with cancer, I'm all for it," said Senate President Mike Miller. "My mother died of cancer, a very lingering death. And if my mother wants to smoke marijuana in her old age to help with her cancer, I'm all for it."

This session's medical marijuana bill, HB 1101, sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim, would allow academic medical centers to apply for licenses to dispense marijuana to qualified patients.

"It's not to open it up for any and everybody; it's a pain reliever," Miller said. "I've got a fractured nerve in my tooth right now and I wouldn't mind a toke myself."

Maryland: Legal Protections Passed For Medical Marijuana Caregivers; Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

(Illustration: Splice Today)Caregivers May Possess Up To An Ounce of Marijuana With No Criminal Charges

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland General Assembly on Monday passed a law that allows caregivers of medical marijuana patients to possess up to an ounce of cannabis 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," explained Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), who introduced the bill, reports Erin Cox at >The Baltimore Sun.

The House of Delegates on Monday voted 92-37 to approve a bill extending an affirmative defense, granted to medical marijuana patients in 2011, to those patienets' caregivers. The Senate had already passed the same bill.

Maryland patients already have some protection under a 2011 law that allows them to use the "affirmative defense" of medical necessity in court if they are charged with marijuana possession or drug paraphernalia.

The caregiver protection measure is now headed to the desk of Governor Martin O'Malley. He hasn't decided whether he'll sign it, according to spokeswoman Raquel Guillory.

Maryland: Hearing Thursday On Bill To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

(Illustration: The Weed Blog)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland House Judiciary Committee on Thursday will hold a hearing on a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replace them with a civil citation and fine. The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST in Room 101 of the House Office Building.

S.B. 297 would reduce the penalty for possession of less than 10 grams (about one-third of an ounce) of marijuana to a civil citation with no possibility of jail time and a fine of up to $100. Currently, it is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The decriminalization bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) and Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Carroll & Howard), was approved in the Senate last week by a vote of 30-16.

"Every year, Maryland wastes millions of dollars prosecuting tens of thousands of adults simply for choosing to use a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol," said Dan Riffle, a former prosecutor now serving as deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana would allow police and prosecutors to focus on violent criminals and real threats to public safety."

WHAT: House Judiciary Committee hearing on S.B. 297, a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Final Approval from House of Delegates

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Final Approval from House of DelegatesBroadly supported proposal would allow academic medical research centers to provide medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill that could allow Maryland citizens with serious illnesses to obtain medical marijuana legally via state-regulated programs took an important step toward becoming law today when the Maryland House of Delegates voted 108-28 to send it to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

“People who use medical marijuana to treat illnesses like cancer and multiple sclerosis shouldn’t have to resort to the illicit market to obtain doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “States around the nation are successfully implementing programs that provide patients with safe, legal, and reliable access to medical marijuana.”

HB 1101, introduced by Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore), an emergency room physician, would create a commission through which academic medical research centers could apply to operate medical marijuana programs. The programs would provide patients with marijuana grown by the federal government or state-licensed growers regulated by the commission.

Maryland: Senate Votes To Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana

(Photo of Candace Junkin, Moms For Marijuana, courtesy of Candace Junkin)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would reduce the penalty for up to 10 grams of marijuana from criminal possession to a civil fine. Meanwhile, another bill in the Maryland House goes even farther.

That bill, sponsored by Delegate Curt Anderson, would legalize the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and over, reports Pat Warren at CBS Baltimore. It would remove all penalties for possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and would allow adults to grow up to three plants.

"Cigarettes are legal," Anderson said. "Alcohol is legal. Both, by far, are more dangerous drugs than marijuana."

Under Anderson's legalization bill, the state would license retail marijuana stores, wholesale facilities, and testing facilities and collect a tax on pot sales.

"We're making out kids criminals," said activist Candace Junkin of Moms For Marijuana, who testified before lawmakers in favor of the bill.

According to Junkin, the legislation is important to Maryland for many reasons.

"The resources we could save in law enforcement and the dismantling of the black market is in the forefront," she told Hemp News on Friday morning. "But most important to this Maryland mom of four and grandmother of three, is our children.

Maryland: Bill Would End Jail Time, Reduce Fine For Small Amounts of Marijuana

Maryland: Bill Would End Jail Time, Reduce Fine For Small Amounts of MarijuanaBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Maryland Senate on Monday is scheduled to vote on a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, ending jail time and reducing the fine to a maximum of $100.

The bill, which is expected to pass, will then face review by the House of Delegates, report Kate Havard and Paul Schwartzman of The Washington Post. Under the Senate proposal, people caught with up to 10 grams of cannabis -- just more than a third of an ounce -- would no longer face any jail time.

Under current Maryland law, the punishment is up to 90 days behind bars, with a fine of up to $500.

"We don't want to wrap people up in the criminal jail system for this," said Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County).

Maryland, a Democratic stronghold, has already legalized same-sex marriage and abolished the death penalty. But it has lagged behind states like California, Washington and Colorado on the cannabis issue.

Senate Majority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil) said he expected the decrim bill to pass in the Senate with bipartisan support, though he said he would vote no on it.

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana Bill

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana BillBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland's health secretary has expressed support for a measure to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told lawmakers on Friday that Governor Martin O'Malley's administration has changed its position since last year, when it opposed a medical marijuana bill because, it said, it could expose state employees who administered such a program to being federally charged.

Sharfstein said the O'Malley administration is changing its position because the federal government has not brought charges against any state employees in other states who are involved in administering medical marijuana programs.

Sharfstein said the administration is now behind the bill sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), with some amendments.

Morhaim's bill would create a commission to oversee the medical marijuana program at academic medical centers. It would be "the tighest and most controlled of any state" medical marijuana program, according to Morhaim.

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Push Begins

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Push BeginsBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Delegate Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore) wants Maryland patients who need medical marijuana to have safe access to it. Glenn held a Thursday news conference to discuss a bill which would allow the distribution of medicinal cannabis to patients with chronic or debilitating medical conditions through compassion centers.

Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, one of four surviving federal medical marijuana patients, is expected to deliver remarks during the event, reports WBAL.

Rosenfeld still receives 300 pre-rolled joints from the federal government each month as part of the Compassionate Investigative New Drug program, as he has for almost 30 years. The IND program stopped taking on new patients during the George H.W. Bush Administration, when it became clear that hundreds of AIDS patients would be eligible.

Glenn has already introduced the medical marijuana legislation. Baltimore County Delegate Dan Morhaim, a physician, has also introduced a two bills this session.

Maryland: Defense For Medical Marijuana Clears Legislature

There is a truth that must be heard! ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A new defense for Maryland residents who use marijuana for medical reasons has cleared the Maryland General Assembly.

The Senate gave final approval to the bill on a 39-5 vote.

The bill would enable Marylanders to avoid a $100 fine and misdemeanor conviction if they are arrested with marijuana but have a doctor’s permission to use the drug for medicinal purposes.

The measure also calls for a study on how medical marijuana could be distributed in the future in Maryland.

Gov. Martin O’Malley says he’ll sign the bill.


Maryland: Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Measure to Provide Patients With Safe Access Now Moves to House.


There is a truth that must be heard!(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) - With no discussion or objections, the Maryland Senate voted 35-12 to pass SB 627, a bill that would allow qualified patients to be recommended medical marijuana by their doctor and receive safe access to their medicine through state-licensed distribution centers. The bill now moves to the House. The General Assembly’s session ends Monday night.

“I’m very proud of my Senate colleagues today for voting to provide some of our most vulnerable residents with the compassion and care that they deserve,” said Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick), the bill’s sponsor and a two-time cancer survivor. “Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from a debilitating illness would agree that we should not stand between doctors and patients, or deprive seriously ill people safe access to a legitimate medicine if it can help them cope with their illness.”

Maryland: Hemp - A Unique Flavor - And Good For You, Too

By Lauren LaRocca, News-Post Staff
Photo by Sam Yu

Margaret Hluch of MOM -- My Organic Market in Frederick -- pours a sample of hemp milk. The market also carries a variety of hemp-based products besides hemp milk.

Long known for its strength and durability in products like clothing and paper, hemp might prove to be just as beneficial in another medium: food.

Turns out, hemp is a leading source of protein (especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans), it contains all 10 essential amino acids, it's high in fiber, and it tastes good, too, if an acquired taste.

Christina Volgyesi, originally from Canada but now living in Portland, Ore., stumbled upon hemp protein powder during a trip home after never having seen it in the States.

"I really just became amazed," she said during a recent phone interview.

She and her husband began experimenting with hemp seeds, making their own hemp milk in a blender. They added sweeteners, like agave nectar and honey, until they found a recipe they liked.

Soon after, they became the founding partners of Living Harvest, a company that now offers an array of hemp products, including hemp milk in five flavors (original, unsweetened original, vanilla, unsweetened vanilla and chocolate).

In April, they'll launch their ice cream line.

"I've always been interested in nutrition as a way of life," said Volgyesi, now the vice president of marketing for the company.

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