Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Maryland
One April 14, 2014, Maryland became the 21st state to legalize Medical Marijuana.In 2014, then-Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation to replace criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine. In 2015, the General Assembly passed Sen. Bobby Zirkin’s SB 517, which completed the reform by decriminalizing the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. On February 20, 2016, marijuana possession was fully decriminalized.
*By statute, defendants who can prove medical necessity at trial face a maximum penalty of $100. Defendants in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana are permitted to raise an affirmative defense to the possession charge if they can prove they suffer from a specific debilitating medical condition.
On April 14, 2014, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed two pieces of cannabis reform legislation. SB 364 decriminalizes possession of 10 grams or less to a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense, and a $500 fine plus possible drug treatment for a third offense. HB 881 legalizes the possession, sale, and production of medical cannabis, and it authorizes the creation of a commission to license dispensaries, doctors, and patients to manage distribution. These two laws do not go into effect until October 1, 2014, prior to the effective date, possession of any amount of marijuana could still be charged and prosecuted.
Quantity of Marijuana
Qualifying patients are allowed no more than 1 ounces of medical marijuana, unless their physician makes a special determination that a patient needs more. Qualifying patients may designate at most 2 caregivers who must be 21 years old or older. Qualifying patients and caregivers are not allowed to grown marijuana plant but can access it from licensed dispensaries.
Treatment for Illnesses in Maryland
Qualifying conditions to which medical marijuana is administered include;Cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, or other conditions approved by the Commission.
Licensing & Supplying
The Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are tasked with developing regulations for patient registry and identification cards, dispensary licensing, setting fees and possession limits, and more. The Commission issues yearly request for applications from academic medical centers to operate medical marijuana compassionate use programs.Patients under the age of 18 must have a caregiver in order to register, and only the caregiver may obtain and administer their medicine.