Police, Doctors Trying to Figure Out Md.’s New Marijuana Laws

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medical marijuana revived in Maryland

Maryland’s 2014 legislative session expanded the state’s medical marijuana program and decriminalized small amounts of the drug (though tacked on steeply escalating civil fines). But that doesn’t mean anything has been simplified. As the Baltimore Sun reports, both measures have left much unclear for law enforcement and doctors, not to mention the many patients waiting for access to their medicine.

Regarding medical marijuana:

+ The chairman of Maryland’s Medical Marijuana Commission expects it to take “until the third quarter of 2015” before patients actually have access to the drug.

+ Mike Elliott, executive director of Colorado’s Marijuana Industry Group, warned Maryland that the medical marijuana business is “extremely difficult” to operate in. “If you screw up, you can end up in prison.”

Regarding decriminalization:

+ If police search a suspect and find less than 10 grams of marijuana, it’s unclear whether they can continue searching for a greater quantity or whether they have to issue a citation and call it a day. (Cheverly Police Chief Harry Robshaw, for one, is leaning toward ordering the former.)

+ The effect decriminalization will have on crime-fighting priorities, the hope being that resources are freed up to focus on violent crime, is at best unclear. Lt. T.J. Smith asserts that the new law “really won’t change our strategy from a crime-fighting standpoint. It just changes the citation.”

+ Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said it’s unclear how the law applies to drug-free school zones.



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