By Van Smith
Baltimore, March 5, 2019
The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPC) yesterday gave thumbs up to three cannabis bills, while the first Maryland House of Delegates-approved cannabis bill of the General Assembly session – to add more licensed professionals who can certify medical-cannabis patients, which passed overwhelmingly, 122-14, on Feb. 15 – awaits its consideration.
Senate Bill 97 seeks to prevent licensed gun-owners from losing Second Amendment rights should they join Maryland’s medical-cannabis program. The JPC gave it unanimous approval, with bipartisan sponsorship by members Michael Hough (R-District 4, Carroll and Frederick counties), Justin Ready (R-District 5, Carroll County), Chris West (R-District 42, Baltimore County), and chair Bobby Zirkin (D-District 11, Baltimore County).
Senate Bill 858 aims to boost cannabis-related academic research by providing access to medical cannabis to licensed researchers. Sponsored by JPC chair Zirkin, it too received unanimous committee approval.
Senate Bill 860 would resolve a nettlesome matter for the state’s corrections community – both inmates and officials – by establishing that certified medical-cannabis patients’ supervision, probation, or parole can’t be revoked for lawful use of medical cannabis.
All three JPC-approved bills next go to Senate floor vote.
The JPC also yesterday gave thumbs down to two bills: Senate Bill 86, which sought to assure that possession of weed, medical or not, stays illegal in correctional settings, including for offenders still on probation; and Senate Bill 855, which would have required corrections officials to provide inmates with access to the state’s medical-cannabis program.