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January 24, 2011

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.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 5:27 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: 2011 legislative session
        

Comments

I hope they pass this bill, it will be a Godsend for many people.

I see a sudden rise in glaucoma in our state if this bill passes.

I hope it passes. Even if some should exploit the law as RSG suggests, we can't hold those suffering accountable for the actions of the liars. So long as we are innocent until proven guilty in this country, our laws should be written to reflect that innocence, not defeated because of a presumption of future guilt. Even if it does seem probable.

Like any drug, marijuana has a risk/benefit profile. Typically, family physicians learn about risks from the FDA, and about benefits from the drug companies. If the medical marijuana bill passes in this state, it is highly unlikely that our legislators are prepared to take the place of the FDA and educate physicians. What are the risks? The most serious is that marijuana use doubles the risk for developing schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Very few family practice physicians are up on the latest psychiatric epidemiology and will be capable of prescribing this drug with appropriate caution. Schizophrenia is generally a life-long disorder that is extremely costly to the social welfare system. We may be gaining a modest benefit for some patients along with a terrible toll on others

Schizophrenia? come on you can double your chance of that by driving on the beltway everyday to work. There are no studies linking schizo to weed, all this false info only distorts the truth and denies patients a medicine that they need. I don't think this system is the best but hopefully people who need meds will be able to get them soon.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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