Gov. O’Malley’s spokeswoman, Raquel Guillory, confirmed on Wednesday that the governor will sign a medical marijuana bill, HB 1101, into law on Thursday, May 2 (although The Associated Press reports that it could be up to three years before the program is running).
But Maryland NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was quick to condemn the bill as a fraud.
“HB 1101 is a smoke and mirrors bill that will benefit NO patient in Maryland,” said Judy Pentz, director of communications and outreach for Maryland NORML. “It is a fake bill to afford our governor to ‘look good’ for his U.S. presidential run in 2016.
“National NORML and Maryland NORML do not recognize Maryland as the 19th [medical marijuana] state,” Pentz told Toke Signals Wednesday evening. “There will be NO growing and NO dispensaries here in Maryland. Patients will NOT be able to readily receive cannabis and it will NOT be available to them.
“The bill is set up with so much red tape that it cannot possibly help anyone,” Pentz told us. “It requires they establish a committee to set up programs with academic research centers — of which there are only three in Maryland, and two of them have already said they are uninterested in participating.
“Those academic research centers are funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry,” she said.
“Furthermore, there will be no growers or dispensaries in our state,” Pentz told us. “So where will the marijuana come from? And the federal government is also written up to be involved in the implementation of the law.”
Judy has a point there; specifically, at the bottom of page 3 of House , defining “academic research centers,” to the top of page 4 (number 2).
HOUSE BILL 1101
(2) CONDUCTS RESEARCH THAT IS OVERSEEN BY THE FEDERAL
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND INVOLVES
“I know you are very lucky in Washington,” Pentz told us, “but here in Maryland we are no closer to becoming a medical marijuana state. We are still fighting hard here, but please understand, it does not help us for you to tell a vast audience that Maryland is the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana.”