For Immediate Release
What is Keeping Maryland from Passing a Medical Marijuana Law?
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Last Friday, Feb. 26, the Maryland House
Judiciary and Health and Government Committees held a public hearing on
a bill that would allow chronically ill patients to have safe access to
medical marijuana with their doctor's recommendation—an idea supported
by 81% of Americans nationwide, according to a recent ABC
News/Washington Post poll. Dozens of witnesses—including physicians,
patients, and former law enforcement officials—testified in favor of
the bill, and no one testified in opposition. Fourteen other states
have already passed medical marijuana laws. So why hasn't Maryland?
Previous efforts to pass medical marijuana
legislation in Maryland all failed to make it out of the House
Judiciary Committee, chaired by Del. Joseph F. Vallario , Jr., (D-Dist.
27A, Calvert and Prince George's Counties). In the past, Del. Vallario
has expressed concern over legislation that might clash with federal
law. But medical marijuana should no longer trigger such concerns
following the October release of an Obama administration memo
instructing federal prosecutors not to target medical marijuana
patients or caregivers who obey state law.
Just last week, a poll conducted by
Conquest Communications in Del. Vallario's House District showed
support for passing this year's medical marijuana bill outnumbered
opposition nearly 3-1.
"Sometimes in an election year you'll see politicians shy away from
controversial issues, but these polls show there's nothing
controversial anymore about medical marijuana – except maybe opposing
it," said Dan Riffle, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy
Project. "Now that the federal government has given the green light to
states to enact medical marijuana laws, there should be nothing
stopping Chariman Vallario and others here in Maryland from listening
to the will of their constituents."
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With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.