MD Amendment Would Allow Marijuana Injection, Prohibit Smoking
Posted by Max Toker
on Feb 16th, 2011 | 0 comments
“No man’s life, liberty or happiness are safe while Congress is in session,” Mark Twain once famously said, and much the same could be said of the Maryland Legislature. A Republican delegate has now filed an amendment to Maryland’s proposed medical marijuana law which would allow patients to inject — but not to smoke — cannabis.
Never mind that marijuana’s not water soluble, and never mind that smoking — while not an ideal form of administration — is a LOT safer than injecting. That’s the kind of silliness you get when you have politicians writing rules for medicine.
Delegate Mike McDermott’s amendment, if added, would require anyone with an medical marijuana authorization from a doctor to consume it through vaporization, ingestion or injection — but smoking it would still be against the law.
“With the amendment, it becomes a medical issue entirely, but I can’t vote for it in the present form,” the clueless McDermott said, reports Jennifer Shutt at Delmarva Now.
The bill, with or without McDermott’s amendment, is deeply flawed. It would make marijuana a Schedule II controlled substance and allow it to be prescribed by doctors in certain cases — but since it only changes that rule at the state level, any doctor prescribing marijuana would be subject to losing his license, since cannabis is still considered Schedule I (no medical value and high potential for abuse) at the federal level.
That’s the very reason that, in all 15 medical marijuana states and the District of Columbia, doctors and health professionals “recommend” — not “prescribe” — marijuana. Prescribing a Schedule I controlled substance could result in the loss of authority to prescribe anything else.
Last year, a medical marijuana bill was introduced and passed in the Maryland Senate, but got nowhere in the state House.
The bill introduced this year has 61 delegates and 22 senators supporting it, including Sen. Jim Mathias (D-Worcester).
“I support marijuana with a doctor’s prescription in a controlled circumstance to help someone with a chronic disease,” said Sen. Mathias, whose wife has battled breast cancer for 14 years. “We have been fortunate to do it through her strength, but some people aren’t that fortunate.”
Mathias said he will “have to look at the bill” when it comes to the floor before deciding whether to vote for it.
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said NORML is always in favor of reforming laws so patients can get safe access, but said law up for debate in Maryland is a mixed bag.
“What types of diseases it can be used for seems to be overly restrictive,” St. Pierre said.
According to the version of the bill before the House, medical marijuana patients must have a chronic or debilitating disease that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or persistent and severe muscle spasms.
In 2003, the Maryland Legislature passed a law requiring criminal courts to consider the context of a defendant’s use of marijuana in sentencing. If an individual successfully makes a case that their use was medically necessary, the maximum penalty allowed by law is a $100 fine.
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