Maryland may be the next state to legalize medical marijuana. If approved, the state’s medical marijuana plan will rely on academic institutions to direct the prescription of marijuana to patients.
Under the proposed law, marijuana would be regulated through a licensing agreement with a university, with Johns Hopkins University of the University of Maryland being potential candidates. Distribution of medical marijuana will therefore come directly from the universities and will reach only a select number of patients. Maryland nearly passed a bill earlier this year that would have allowed physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients, but the concerns of health department head Joshua Sharfstein ultimately prevented the bill from passing. Sharfstein was hesitant about enacting legislation that would have placed Maryland in opposition to federal law.
The “academic” proposal is expected to draw fewer worries since it would create much more tightly regulated access to medical marijuana. An official proposal will be presented to state lawmakers in December of 2012. If this model is put into place, it will be the first of its kind in the country.