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ASA Brings Patients One Step Closer to Protections in Maryland

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Patients, Friends and Activists

ASA's bill to protect patients in Maryland just passed the Senate floor with a 41-6 vote! ASA has been working in Maryland for years, and we're thrilled that the bill we wrote, SB 308, is advancing to the House of Delegates. SB 308 gives patients a true medical defense in the court room, removing criminal penalties for medical cannabis use.

In the House, the bill will likely have to go through the Judiciary Committee. This committee has traditionally been a stumbling block for medical cannabis, but ASA has been working with the chair to garner support. Help us continue our work in Maryland and ensure patients are protected by the end of the year.

Under Maryland's current law, patients can use the medical defense, but it only reduces the charge. Even with this defense, the patient will still be charged and fined $100. With ASA's bill, patients will have a true affirmative defense.

SB 308 was originally introduced to fully regulate medical cannabis. Unfortunately, the Secretary of the Department of Health quickly came out in opposition to it, saying it wouldn't be financially feasible. To compromise, the Senate then considered a study bill, which would require a workgroup to examine the effects of medical cannabis laws.

ASA agrees that study bills are helpful, but they don't require later action and do nothing to protect patients' from prosecution. We worked with our champion in the Senate Sen. Jamie Raskin to incorporate ASA's language, ensuring patients are protected from criminal charges.
 
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