Updated on January 8, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
While people were encouraged when the state approved the use of medical weed in 2013, the hard medical marijuana facts for Maryland are that the state’s program has yet to be implemented. No one can legally use medical cannabis, and the state has still not issued any patient identification cards for those who will ultimately be allowed to use it. However, as of 2018, the state of Maryland has begun awarding licenses for dispensaries that are expected to begin opening.
Medical Marijuana Facts for Maryland
- Under current Maryland State law, a person in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana faces up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A conviction for possession of over 10 grams can result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- The state legislature passed a bill in 2014 that decriminalized possession of small amounts (less than 10g) of weed, making it a civil rather than criminal offense. However, some law enforcement agents across the state have been charging people who had as little as two baggies of pot with intent to distribute, as well as possession, even though they had fewer than 10 grams.
- Certain state leaders attempted to re-criminalize weed in 2016, but these bills were defeated in the state legislature.
- In addition to the Maryland medical marijuana law that was placed in effect starting October 1, 2013, an affirmative defense of “medical necessity” for people charged with possession is also available. This law was changed again on June 1, 2013 and extends this “medical necessity” to charges against certain caregivers who are in possession of marijuana.
- On May 2, 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley made his state the latest to adopt medical marijuana as an alternative treatment option. The medical marijuana measure was one of several that O’Malley had to sign.
- It is said that on June 1st, 2016, the Medical Marijuana Commission and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene may start to issue the number of medical marijuana dispensary licenses necessary to meet the demand for medical marijuana by qualifying patients and caregivers that have been issued identification cards.
- However, one of the discouraging medical marijuana facts for Maryland advocates occurred when the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, in the opinion of the state’s legislative Black Caucus, failed to establish a diversity program when issuing licenses to medical weed dispensaries. As a result, the process of opening these dispensaries was delayed, forcing patients to wait even longer. Because of this delayed rollout, dispensaries were not expected to open until either the mid- or late-2017. This is one of the slowest rollouts of a medical cannabis program in the nation.
- Patients suffering from Glaucoma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anorexia, Chronic Pain, Seizures, Severe Muscle Spasms, Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome and severe conditions where other more traditional medical treatments have been ineffective will have access to medical cannabis.
- Both the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission and the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene have been tasked with developing regulations outlining patient registry systems, identification cards, dispensary licensing, setting fees and possession limits. The Medical Marijuana Commission will issue yearly requests for applications from academic medical centers to operate medical marijuana compassionate use programs.
If you are interested in keeping up to date on marijuana facts for Maryland or any other state, check back with MarijuanaDoctors.com on a regular basis, and we will keep you informed. We want to be your one-stop source for all developments regarding this critically important issue, so we will provide updates as warranted.