Md. Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBOC/AP) - The Maryland Senate approved its version of a medical marijuana bill in a 45-1 vote after its third reading Thursday morning. The amended bill will now go to the House for consideration, where a similar bill has already been approved.

Senate Bill 923, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin and co-sponsored by 12 other senators, would allow seriously ill Marylanders suffering from certain qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. 

Both the Senate and House bills aim to make medical marijuana more accessible for people who would benefit from it. The Senate's version does not limit the number of growers the state could license and would leave this decision to a commission. But the House bill caps the number at 10.

The Senate's version also sets a two-year term for each grower's license, instead of the House bill's five-year term, and it mandates a study on how best to provide medical marijuana to veterans.

In April 2013, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill into law that allows residents with serious illnesses to obtain medical marijuana through state-regulated programs administrated by academic medical research centers.

Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana. In addition to Maryland, 14 states and Puerto Rico are considering medical marijuana bills in the current legislative sessions.

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