Montel Williams pushes for medical marijuana

Joins lawmakers in Annapolis; bill to be introduced this week

  • Talk show host Montel Williams, right, speaks at a news conference at the House Office Building in support of legislation that would make Maryland the nation's 16th state to allow physician-approved use of medical marijuana. Seated at left is Del. Dan K. Morhaim of Baltimore County.
Talk show host Montel Williams, right, speaks at a news conference… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
January 24, 2011|By Julie Bykowicz, The Baltimore Sun

An emotional Montel Williams joined state lawmakers Monday in Annapolis to urge the General Assembly to legalize medical marijuana.

The Baltimore-born talk-show host suffers from multiple sclerosis and says he uses marijuana — and nine other medications — every day to alleviate pain. He said tearfully that traditional opiates don't work for him any longer.

"I've used too many," he said.

At his side were state Sens. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat, and David Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican, both cancer survivors. They said that while they don't use marijuana, they can understand why some patients need it.

Also backing the proposal is Del. Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat who is the General Assembly's only physician.

"I'm convinced that marijuana has a real medical role," he said.

The lawmakers said their legislation to legalize marijuana is tightly crafted to limit marijuana use to patients who have been prescribed the drug by their regular doctors after they have tried other remedies.

The bill is similar to legislation that passed the Senate overwhelmingly last year but stalled in the House of Delegates.

Morhaim said that he took into account concerns expressed last year by his fellow delegates. He said this year's bill further limits the ways in which physicians can prescribe marijuana and explicitly prohibits all use in motor vehicles.

The bill is slated to be introduced this week, its sponsors said. It is expected to have bipartisan support.

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