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Bill To Allow Medical Marijuana Gets Thumbs Down

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A bill to legalize medical marijuana gets a thumbs down from the state.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains approving a system to distribute marijuana for medical purposes would have to be trimmed down to win health department approval.

In late January, Baltimore native and talk show host Montel Williams opened this session’s debate over the use of marijuana for medical reasons with an impassioned testimony of his own struggles with the pain of MS.

“Marijuana may not work for everyone but what it has done for me is it’s given me my life back,” Williams said.

Others with less celebrity but as much pain publicly admitted Monday to using the illegal drug at the risk of arrest.

“A few minutes before each evening meal, my goal was not to get high but rather to stimulate my appetite,” said Karen Marin.

Longtime supporters of medical marijuana say the arguments in favor of the bill have not charged.

“You have a person going through treatment and if they are seeking some help and put yourselves in their scenario, you’ll do anything to help them,” said David Brinkly.

But the state health department is reeling in the emotion to look at the practical.

“The department opposes this proposal in this form,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Secretary of Health.

What the state will do is work on a smaller scale.  Health officials seem to agree the pleas of the sick deserve some kind of action, even in a war on drugs.

“Patients can get off the battlefield and start living their life like everybody else,” Williams said.

The bill was heard by a joint session to House and Senate committees Monday.  No word yet on when the votes will be taken.

In 2003, lawmakers reduced the recommended penalty for a person arrested for using marijuana for medical reasons to a $100 fine.

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