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Maryland legislature sees medical cannabis as a high priority

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Maryland legislature sees medical cannabis as a high priority

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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This session’s General Assembly is pushing for a number of medical cannabis bills in Maryland.

Lawmakers in the state are considering introducing a type of legislation that would alter the public’s perception of pot.

During an interview with FOX 5, State Senator Bobby Zirkin said that life has been made difficult for residents who have been using the drug for medicinal purposes by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), due to its Schedule 1 classification.

Zirkin recently initiated several bills to normalize cannabis as a treatment and safeguard state residents who rely on the plant’s therapeutic qualities. He is the lead sponsor of 11 bills. Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee was expected to hear a total of 18 bills relating to medical cannabis and recreational cannabis use.

Zirkin wants to introduce an edibles program to Maryland’s medical cannabis industry

https://www.google.com/search?q=bobby+zirkin&safe=strict&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjyld-05-jgAhWHVBUIHRVABXkQ_AUIDygC&biw=1280&bih=689#imgrc=gxJnALUYownzAM:

(Pictured) Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin

If one of the medical cannabis bills sponsored by Zirkin goes into full effect, SB 857, certain dispensaries would be legally allowed to buy, possess and sell cannabis edibles to qualifying patients.

In addition to this, some manufacturers would be able to sell and distribute their edibles to certain dispensaries.

“We’re very excited to be able to bring an edibles program to Maryland, but our top focus on any of the products we’re doing or regulating is that they’re high-quality and safe for patients as a medicinal product,” said the executive director of the MMCC, Joy Strand, during a briefing to lawmakers on Jan. 17, 2019.

In addition to Senate Bill SB 856, Zirkin and Republican state Sen. Michael Hough are hoping to advance SB 97. This bill would ensure that gun owners are not denied the right to purchase, possess or carry a firearm solely based on their status as a medical cannabis patient.

Another cannabis bill that is being sponsored by Zirkin is SB 863. This bill would forbid certain employers from asking employees/job applicants to disclose their cannabis use.

Other cannabis bills proposed for advancement in Maryland legislature

Numerous other cannabis bills were put before the state legislature for review, including:

  • Senate bill 854 – Includes medical cannabis in the list of medicines that employers/insurers must provide to covered employees in certain scenarios.
  • Senate bill 858Would permit higher education institutions to acquire medical cannabis for research projects.
  • Senate bill 860Prevents certain individuals from facing parole, probation or mandatory supervision for using or possessing medical cannabis.
  • Senate bill 861Rescinds various registration requirements for certifying providers and applications for them with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
  • Senate bill 862Prevents landlords from turning down a lease from patients/caregivers in possession of medical cannabis.
  • Senate bill 864 – Prevents a party from revoking qualified patient/caregiver contracts based on their status as a medical cannabis consumer.

Find out more about the bills supported by the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition (MCPC) by visiting the official website: www.marylandcannabispolicy.org/bills.

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Maryland legislature sees medical cannabis as a high priority