Maryland Sets Sights on Cannabis Bills—18 of Them


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Developing and promoting edible healthcare cannabis items, permitting inmates to acquire healthcare cannabis therapy, and prohibiting employers from asking about marijuana use could turn into law in Maryland beneath bills becoming pushed in this year’s Basic Assembly.

The Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee is anticipated to hear 18 bills with regards to healthcare cannabis and marijuana use in the state on Tuesday.

Even though healthcare cannabis is legal at the state level for sufferers offered approval by the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission, which develops policies and regulations on the drug and qualifies sufferers to acquire it as therapy, recreational marijuana is not but legalized.

Committee Chair Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, is the lead sponsor on 11 of the 18 bills and told Capital News Service that the objective of pushing so numerous pieces of legislation is to normalize healthcare marijuana as medication, as it is nevertheless treated as an illicit drug beneath federal law.

Present federal laws bar healthcare cannabis sufferers from getting or possessing firearms beneath the Federal Gun Handle Act.

More than his years serving in the Maryland Legislature, Zirkin told Capital News Service, he’s observed healthcare cannabis assist persons and desires to take away as numerous roadblocks to it as he can.

Senate bill 857, sponsored by Zirkin, will let specific dispensaries to obtain, possess and sell meals containing healthcare cannabis to qualifying sufferers, along with permitting specific processors to distribute and sell to specified dispensaries.

On the other hand, the improvement of edible items containing cannabis is really distinctive from dealing with flower, or the smokable portion of the cannabis plant, or processed cannabis items, as all meals created or sold in the state is regulated by the Maryland Workplace of Meals Security, mentioned Joy Strand, executive director of the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission.

“We’re really excited to be in a position to bring an edibles plan to Maryland, but our best concentrate on any of the items we’re undertaking or regulating is that they’re higher-top quality and secure for sufferers as a medicinal solution,” Strand mentioned in a briefing to lawmakers on Jan. 17.

The Senate bill was cross-filed with Property bill 17, sponsored by Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore. Glenn, whose mother is the namesake of the commission, is a top sponsor of healthcare marijuana legislation. A hearing for that bill was cancelled and has not but been rescheduled.

Zirkin, with Sen. Michael Hough, R-Frederick and Carroll, is functioning to advance legislation — Senate bill 97 — that states that a individual cannot be denied the appropriate to buy, possess or carry a firearm solely primarily based on their authorized status as a healthcare cannabis patient.

Present federal laws bar healthcare cannabis sufferers from getting or possessing firearms beneath the Federal Gun Handle Act, and marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug and is illegal on the federal level.

Maryland State Police can ask folks hunting to buy a gun about their status as healthcare cannabis sufferers and can bar sufferers from finishing the transaction, according to the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission web site.

Zirkin is also sponsoring Senate bill 855, which would let specific certified inmates to acquire healthcare cannabis as therapy in state and neighborhood correctional facilities.

Senate bill 863 would prohibit specific employers from requiring workers or applicants to disclose their use of cannabis.

Even though inmates are eligible for healthcare care and therapy though incarcerated, drugs prescribed to them prior to becoming placed in detention are not usually offered to them as soon as locked up.

On the other hand, Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington, is presenting an opposing bill — Senate bill 86 — which would bar possession of marijuana or cannabis on the grounds of a neighborhood or state correctional facility, or though a criminal offender is in a dwelling detention plan.

Serafini’s bill clarifies existing legislation by stating that civil and criminal penalties can be imposed if an person violates the law and possesses or makes use of marijuana or cannabis in any correctional setting.

An additional bill from Zirkin is Senate bill 863, which would prohibit specific employers from requiring workers or applicants to disclose their use of marijuana and cannabis.

On the other hand, the bill does not prohibit employers from creating inquiries or taking other actions otherwise mandated to them by neighborhood, state or federal laws, or if applicants or workers had been applying, possessing or beneath the influence of marijuana at their spot of employment.

Even though healthcare cannabis is legal for certified sufferers and numerous folks are conscious of its availability, the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission is prohibited from publishing advertisements for healthcare cannabis or connected items on radio, tv or billboards.

Senate bill 859, also sponsored by Zirkin, aims to alter marketing laws for healthcare cannabis to be constant with federal regulations on prescription drug marketing.

The bill will prohibit such marketing from becoming false or misleading and will be essential to state that the solution becoming advertised is only for use by qualifying sufferers.

“If this aids them, why would we hide it from them?” Zirkin asked in the course of a legislative briefing on healthcare cannabis on Jan. 17.

Zirkin’s other bills to be heard in the Judicial Proceedings Committee incorporate:

— Senate bill 854, which says that a covered employee or dependent is not entitled to workers’ compensation or connected positive aspects if specific accidental private injury or illness was triggered solely by healthcare cannabis, and consists of healthcare cannabis beneath the medicines that an employer or insurer should deliver to a covered employee in specific conditions.

— Senate bill 858, which would let larger education institutions to buy healthcare cannabis for analysis projects.

— Senate bill 860, which prohibits specific folks from becoming topic to revocation of mandatory supervision, parole or probation for the use or possession of healthcare cannabis.

— Senate bill 861, which repeals numerous registration needs for certifying providers and applications for them with the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission.

— Senate bill 862, which prohibits a landlord from denying sufferers or caregivers a lease solely primarily based on the possession of healthcare cannabis.

— Senate bill 864, which prohibits a celebration from rescinding a contract with a certified patient or caregiver primarily based on their healthcare cannabis status and prohibits discrimination by an employer against a certified patient or caregiver.

Other bills scheduled to be heard in the Judicial Proceedings Committee incorporate:

— Senate bill 383, sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery, which would authorize law enforcement to get healthcare cannabis at no expense for use in the course of coaching, and requiring that all items containing healthcare cannabis incorporate a warning against operating a vehicle or other machinery beneath the influence.

— Senate bill 418, sponsored by Sen. Robert Cassilly, R-Harford, which would prohibit drivers and occupants of motor automobiles from smoking or consuming marijuana in the passenger region of the car on the highway.

— Senate bill 426, sponsored by Sen. Chris West, R-Baltimore County, which would call for the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission to let an person to have an ownership interest in up to six licensed dispensaries.

— Senate bill 552, sponsored by Sen. Susan Lee, D-Montgomery, would prohibit former workers and commissioners of the Maryland Healthcare Cannabis Commission from becoming an owner, employee, or otherwise associated to enterprises with licenses offered beneath the approval of the commission.

— Senate bill 749, sponsored by Sen. Clarence Lam, D-Baltimore and Howard counties, demands dispensaries and agents to label healthcare cannabis and connected items if they had been grown applying pesticides, along with requiring the Division of Agriculture to study well being impacts of smoked healthcare cannabis that was grown applying pesticides.

— Senate bill 771, sponsored by Sen. William Smith, D-Montgomery, which substitutes the word “cannabis” for “marijuana” in specific components of the law, along with altering punishable quantities and establishing age limits and civil offenses involving the use and possession of cannabis.


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