House approves bill that would double limit on small...

ASSEMBLY DIGEST

February 08, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

House approves bill that would double limit on small claims

The House of Delegates unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would make it easier for people to go to small claims court.

The measure would increase the monetary amount for which a person could sue in small claims court from $2,500 to $5,000. Disputes involving more than that amount often are heard in Circuit Court, where many defendants and plaintiffs feel that they need a lawyer to navigate the complicated and often clogged system.

Identical legislation was vetoed by the governor last year at the urging of trial lawyers. The bill moves to the Senate.

52 lawmakers sponsor medical use of marijuana

Fifty-two lawmakers, including some of the General Assembly's most conservative Republicans, are sponsoring legislation to legalize marijuana for medical use.

The bill would allow patients suffering from diseases such as cancer and AIDS to smoke marijuana, which stimulates the appetite and suppresses nausea, allowing patients to gain weight.

"I would suggest that pretzels are more dangerous than marijuana," said Del. Donald E. Murphy, a Baltimore County Republican and the bill's main sponsor.

Critics say such legislation would promote illegal drug use under the guise of medicine.

House OKs plan to allow judges to conduct weddings

The House of Delegates gave overwhelming approval yesterday to a bill that would allow judges to officiate at weddings.

Maryland is one of four states that don't permit judges to perform marriage ceremonies. Under current state law, only officials of religious orders and Circuit Court clerks may marry people.

The House and Senate approved similar legislation last year, but the two chambers failed to resolve differences in the bills. The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue next week.

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