This is why I am excited that Maryland could be taking the first steps towards eventual drug legalization, the legalization of marijuana use for medical purposes. Lets not delude ourselves for a second, though bills of this type do serve a medical purpose, they IN MY OPINION part of a larger strategy to legalize currently illegal drugs. As a thinking, liberty loving person, I welcome this legislation, and I hope it gets out of committee (fat chance, I think).
Currently under state law, individuals using the drug for medical reasons can still be arrested and prosecuted for possession of marijuana or paraphernalia, but caps the fine at $100.
Should the legislation pass, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would issue picture identification cards to patients who qualify to use marijuana for medical purposes. The proposal also exempts caregivers from arrests, penalties and disciplinary action.
"This is recognizing the beneficial use of marijuana and the fact that some people need it," said Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, D-Baltimore. "We understand what the federal government is saying, but we also recognize the federal government is not going to spend any energy on a person who has six little plants."
Yes, yes, yes, people who "need" it. Perhaps Maryland should allow those under 21 who can prove they need to drink red wine for "medical purposes" to buy a bottle of Merlot when the whimsy hits.
Need aside, a joint is about as dangerous as a stiff drink. I like bills like these because they are the only way to advance the "legalization" debate without being called insane. I dislike them because they are disingenuous. The public who back these proposals are most likely legalization proponents, some are possibly causal users. This places those who support this legislation in a position where they must argue for legislation that only does half of what we want. Those arguing against are stalwartly defending the same line that they always have. It immediately places us at a disadvantage in the public eye and in the legislatures.
I hope this bill passes, or at least gets some debate on the floor. Either way, its only a start.