Jan. 27, 2010 – The Baltimore Sun: Maryland has two medical marijuana bills that were introduced by legislators on Tuesday in the General Assembly. The legislation, if passed, would allow the use of marijuana by patients with debilitating medical conditions such as seizures, severe chronic pain or nausea and cancer. The bill would allow doctors to approve cannabis use as a treatment after other treatments have failed, and it also sanctions dispensaries and even pharmacies to distribute the marijuana. Patients would have to register with the state, and then get cannabis from either state-licensed dispensaries or pharmacies that would supply it. The Bill is sponsored in the House of Delegates by Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat and emergency medical physician. Senator David Brinkley, a Republican, is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. The bill is restrictive in that patients would not be permitted to grow their own cannabis. Since 2003, Maryland has a law called “Affirmative Defense” that allows defendants charged with marijuana possession leniency if they can prove medical necessity. The 2003 law was criticized for implying that sick people must find illegal drug dealers to procure what is medicine for them. The bill has a great deal of support, and not much opposition yet. Advocates in the state are feeling hopeful that this will pass to make Maryland the Nation’s 15th state to legalize cannabis for medical use, but because it does not provide for a patient’s right to grow his or her own marijuana, the bill is considered weak by some critics.