Md. Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Medical Marijuana

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a push to legalize medical marijuana here in Maryland. Monday night, patients flooded Annapolis, pleading with lawmakers to pass legislation in the state.

Meghan McCorkell has more on this controversial issue.

Advocates say medical marijuana could improve the lives of Marylanders suffering from chronic conditions, but getting the legislation passed may have hit a major roadblock.

Adam Epstein suffers from Tourette Syndrome.

“I have strong involuntary muscle spasms and shaking of my head,” Epstein said.

“He would come in and cry to us every night. `Why me?’ `Why can’t you do anything for me?’ `Why can’t you help me?'” said Adam’s father, Warren Epstein.

The only thing that eases his symptoms is medical marijuana.

“He doesn’t shake at all and it can last him for a pretty long time, about four or five days,” said Adam’s mother, Kathy Epstein.

Now, Adam is speaking out to lawmakers, hoping they’ll pass medical marijuana legislation.

He’s got some star power behind him.

“Cannabis…gives relief to millions of people,” said talk show host Montel Williams.

Williams urges lawmakers to legalize marijuana. But even if the General Assembly does pass medical marijuana legislation, Governor Martin O’Malley has said he would veto the bill this session. The administration is worried state employees could face federal charges for distributing the drug.

“At this point, we are not comfortable with legislation that would potentially put state employees at risk,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Department of Health.

Delegate Dan Morhaim is working on amendments to ease those fears.

“My hope is that we’ll find a way to pass one of the recommended bills from the task force and hopefully the governor would sign,” Morhaim said.

Adam Epstein and his family are eager for that day, so he can find relief.

“Things are going to take some time, but eventually we will reach an agreement,” Adam Epstein said.

Those amendments that would protect state employees are expected to be drafted by Tuesday.

There are medical marijuana laws in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

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