Cumberland Times-News

March 1, 2014

Advocates: Need for medical marijuana urgent

Lawmakers considering reform of Maryland laws

nick tabor
Associated Press

— ANNAPOLIS — Gail Rand’s 4-year-old son, Logan, has seizures that make him collapse like a marionette with its strings cut. It happens 10 to 20 times a day, Rand said.

His severe form of epilepsy hardly responds to any existing medications. The one drug that’s proven to help his condition substantially is a form of marijuana.

Rand testified before a House committee Friday alongside several other parents of seriously epileptic children. They tried to drive home the message that Maryland’s medical marijuana laws need urgent reform. For some children it could make the difference between life and death, they said.

“It’s unfathomable,” she said in an interview later.

The House Health and Governmental Operations Committee is considering bills from Dels. Cheryl Glenn and Dan Morhaim. The delegates plan to combine their bills into a single plan and create testing laboratories, treatment centers and licenses for five Maryland marijuana growers.

“I think it’s morally wrong if we don’t get this done now,” Morhaim told his colleagues Friday. “We know there’s a war on drugs. Let’s at least get the sick and the dying off the battlefield.”

The bills would also create a cardholder registration system to help patients 21 and older obtain the medication. Patients would need physicians’ notes to qualify, and they could obtain only 60 days’ worth at a time.

The bill is designed for people suffering from epilepsy, cancer, fibromyalgia and other conditions. Parents would need a special dispensation to get the drug for their children.

Last year the legislature passed a bill that allowed medical marijuana to be distributed only at academic medical centers. But since then, none of Maryland’s medical centers has created a distribution program.