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Senate Passes Bill Allowing Doctors To Prescribe Medical Marijuana

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s General Assembly is closer to a workable medical marijuana program.

Pat Warren reports the Senate passed a bill similar to one approved by the House that allows individual doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients.

The Maryland General Assembly inches its way toward relief for patients whose medical conditions can be improved with the use of marijuana. Patients like Stephanie Pippen’s daughter, who has constant seizures.

“Parents talk, we talk to each other. We know it works. And I don’t understand why we can’t have it here,” Pippen said.

Last year, Maryland passed what turns out to be an unworkable program in which only academic hospitals can dispense marijuana. The new bill brings private doctors into the mix.

“So hopefully, the bill as passed will have legs, it’ll move forward and people with medical problems who can benefit from this will be able to do so,” Senate President Mike Miller said.

The session has seen a number of proposed reforms. In a Goucher survey, 50 percent of voters said they’re in favor of legalizing marijuana. Thirty-nine percent oppose it.

A bill that decriminalizes marijuana has passed the Senate, but may have trouble in the House. The General Assembly is feeling pressure to help the sick.

“What we’re trying to do with this legislation is to find a real way to get medical marijuana to the people suffering from AIDS, leukemia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, kids suffering from seizure disorders whose moms and dads came down here and begged us to make this happen,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin, (D) Montgomery County.

Stephanie Pippen is one of those parents. Gail Rand is another.

“Every day that passes without this medicine is a day stolen from my son,” Rand said.

Medicine is a primary reason for reform. There are others.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear a bill on decriminalization next week.

There are some differences in the House and Senate bills that are expected to be remedied for final passage.

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