<p>New Law Unlikely to Provide Patients Access to Medicine Absent Changes in Federal Policy<br />
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance's Amanda Reiman</p>
Today, Maryland enacted a law allowing approved academic research institutions in that state to establish investigational, research-oriented medical marijuana studies. Unlike 18 other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws that allow patients to obtain medical marijuana by growing it themselves or purchasing it from state-licensed businesses, Maryland’s law requires that patients obtain their medicine only from a limited number of research hospitals approved to conduct medical marijuana research.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that these research programs will be able to provide patients whose doctors recommend medical marijuana with any meaningful access to their medicine. The federal government maintains a complete prohibition on possession and distribution of marijuana, including for medical use, in addition to a policy of refusing to provide marijuana even for FDA-approved studies.
Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliance states:
“Maryland has taken a small step in the right direction, but more steps are necessary for patients to actually obtain the medicine they need to alleviate their suffering. Maryland has many workable and successful models to draw from: Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have successfully legalized marijuana for medical purposes despite the ongoing federal ban. Medical marijuana is used in those jurisdictions by hundreds of thousands of patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other serious and debilitating illnesses.”