Montel Williams urges passage of medical marijuana
An emotional Montel Williams joined legislators today in Annapolis to urge the General Assembly to legalize medical marijuana.
The talk show host and Baltimore native suffers from multiple sclerosis and says he uses marijuana -- and nine other medications -- every day to alleviate pain. He tearfully said traditional opiates don't work for him any longer. "I've used too many," he said.
At his side were Sens. Jamie Raskin and David Brinkley, both cancer survivors who, though they said they don't use marijuana, can understand why some patients need the drug. They are among several Maryland lawmakers who are sharing personal stories this year to advocate for legislation.
Also sponsoring the medical marijuana proposal is Del. Dan Morhaim, the Assembly's only medical doctor. "I'm convinced that marijuana has a real medical role," he said at the press conference.
The lawmakers who have drafted the plan said it is tightly crafted to limit marijuana use to patients who have been prescribed the drug by their regular doctor, after having tried other remedies.
The legislation is similar to a bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate last year but stalled in the House of Delegates. Morhaim said that he took into account concerns expressed last year by fellow delegates, and this year's bill further tightens how physicians can prescribe it and explicitly prohibits all use in motor vehicles.
The bill is slated to be introduced this week, its sponsors said. It is expected to have bipartisan support: Even new Senate minority leader Nancy Jacobs is signing on as a co-sponsor.