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NEWS
August 3, 2014
Advocates are generally praising Maryland's proposed new medical marijuana regulations as a step in the right direction after an initial effort failed to make the drug available to patients with chronic pain, nausea and other conditions thought to be alleviated by it. But they have raised concerns about some details, particularly in how doctors would be required to handle the drug, that essentially boil down to this paradox: They object that the regulations...
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NEWS
By Jessica Anderson and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Baltimore County police have charged a civilian employee who worked in the department's Criminal Investigation Division after detectives found marijuana in her home Wednesday. Investigators searched the home of Susan M. Burke on Glenback Avenue in Pikesville Wednesday morning, where they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the house, police wrote in charging documents. Among the items found were grinders, scales, smoking pipes and a mason jar with plant residue, among other items for marijuana use. Police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said Burke will be reassigned to another county government position.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The owner of Baltimore's Sonar nightclub was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in supervising a drug dealing and money laundering operation, federal prosecutors announced. Daniel Gerard McIntosh, 38, of Sparks, was part of a large drug operation busted by the Drug Enforcement Agency when it seized more than 80 pounds of marijuana and $30,000 in cash from the group's headquarters in the 3500 block of Hickory Ave., in Hampden. The agency also found 30 cell phones, documentation of a plane purchased for $450,000, books showing more than $14.5 million in marijuana sales, money counters and fake IDs in the sting.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | September 9, 2014
A state panel on Tuesday hashed out more of the nitty-gritty details to create a medical marijuana industry from scratch, but some key points remained unresolved as the commission nears a deadline next week. Maryland's Medical Marijuana Commission plans to release Wednesday a second draft of regulations to create the program. Those 81-pages of rules have been reshaped after the first draft came under fire at a public hearing last month. Among the many changes in the new draft: removing a provision that would have effectively outlawed a grower or dispensary operation within Baltimore city limits.
NEWS
February 4, 2010
I do not understand why The Sun is not featuring any of the experts (many available right here in Baltimore) who have worked in the field of addictions and have valuable experience and information about the negative consequences of legalizing marijuana, which is a well-known "gateway" drug and ripe for black market enterprise despite suggested constraints ("Md. fights through haze over medical marijuana," Jan. 31). There are many serious drawbacks to legalization. I feel the following questions are valid and need to be explored before the legislature approves such a bill.
NEWS
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2014
As lawmakers in Annapolis continue to consider whether to loosen Maryland's marijuana laws, a bipartisan pair of senators plans to introduce a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. “We're not trying to encourage people to smoke pot,” said Baltimore County Democrat Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who is leading the effort. “I don't think that having a joint should be a jail-able offense. I don't think that's the definition of a crime.” Under the bill, it would not longer be a crime to have less than 10 grams of marijuana - a proposal that cleared the Senate last year but didn't get a vote in the House of Delegates.  Instead, the proposal calls for making marijuana a civil offense that could result in a ticket for adults and drug treatment for minors.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | November 22, 2013
(NOTICE: This article replaces an earlier version that incorrectly characterized Del. Ron George's criticism of Del. Heather Mizeur's plan based on the reporter's misunderstanding of the proposal.) Republican Ron George has became the first gubernatorial candidate to target fellow hopeful Heather R. Mizeur's proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana -- focusing on a provision of Mizeur's proposal to let adults legally grow their own. George, a  state delegate from Anne Arundel County, released a statement Thursday in which he denounced Mizeur's plan to tax legal marijuana sales and use the proceeds for early childhood education was first reported in The Baltimore Sun Tuesday.
NEWS
Baltimore Crime Beat | February 22, 2012
Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein was among the prosecutors urging lawmakers to allow prosecutors to seek shorter sentences in some marijuana possession cases , WBAL Radio reported this week. Bernstein was in Annapolis Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee which was considering a bill to allow prosecutors to pursue a maximum 90-day jail term for those convicted of possessing less than 14-grams of marijuana.  Current law calls for a maximum one-year jail term.
NEWS
By Tony Newman | December 27, 2011
Should juries vote "not guilty" on low-level marijuana charges to send a message about our country's insane marijuana arrest policy? Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to acquit defendants who are technically guilty but who don't deserve punishment. As Paul Butler wrote recently in The New York Times, juries have the right and power to use jury nullification to protest unjust laws. Mr. Butler points out that nullification was credited with ending our country's disastrous alcohol Prohibition as more and more jurors refused to send their neighbors to jail for a law they didn't believe in. He says we need to do the same with today's marijuana arrests.
NEWS
January 6, 2012
Your recent editorial on medical marijuana was yet another attempt to frame the legalization debate in terms of public safety, which is nothing more than a convenient smoke screen ("Go slow on marijuana," Jan. 3). If our leaders cared one wit about public safety as it concerns drugs, most of the prescription medicines advertised directly to consumers would be taken off the shelves. Marijuana has been studied to death already, not for its medical benefits but for its potential harm.
NEWS
September 4, 2014
As members of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission's policy subcommittee, we are honored to be able to serve our fellow citizens to develop a program that makes medical marijuana available to those Marylanders who have not found relief from conventional treatments and may benefit from its many medicinal uses in a safe, affordable manner ( "Proposed medical marijuana rules under fire," Aug. 27). As we have been writing the regulations to implement this new law, we are very mindful to balance the concerns of the General Assembly to assure ease of access for the patient and provide necessary security safeguards.
NEWS
September 1, 2014
The lack of coherent rules for access to medical marijuana in Maryland is beyond absurd ( "Pot as medicine," Aug. 27). Medical marijuana has already been successfully implemented in many states across the country. Is Maryland so different that we can't adopt the same policies in use by other states? While there have been abuses of the system, they are relatively rare and non-threatening. Extending the logic applied by the Maryland commission on medical marijuana, we should ban swimming pools - responsible for hundreds of injuries and deaths every year - reduce the highway speed limit to 25 mph and make countless other changes to state law. Obviously, that's not the answer.
NEWS
September 1, 2014
I agree that Maryland's recently proposed rules regarding access to medical marijuana are overly restrictive ( "Pot as medicine," Aug. 27). Maryland policymakers are missing an opportunity to save lives. Baltimore, for example, has the highest rate of heroin addiction in the country. New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that states with legal access to medical marijuana have a 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdose deaths than states that prohibit marijuana.
NEWS
August 27, 2014
A state commission meeting this week to draft rules governing access to medical marijuana by patients and physicians has left advocates for the drug's therapeutic use wondering whether it will ever become available to those who need it. The commissioners need to balance the scientific and medical issues raised by medical marijuana against the legal constraints imposed by state and federal statutes. But in trying to walk a fine line between the two, the panel appears to have crafted rules that in some instances are so restrictive that many patients with illnesses that could be treated with the drug may never be able to get it. That would defeat the whole purpose of Maryland's medical marijuana law, which has already been delayed once since its passage in 2013.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | August 27, 2014
Critics took aim Tuesday at proposed regulations to create a medical marijuana industry in Maryland as a state commission tasked with writing the rules rushed toward a deadline it might not meet. Physicians, patients, advocates and potential growers said the commission did not collect enough public input before drafting the rules - which they said appear to forbid a medical marijuana dispensary anywhere within Baltimore city limits. Final regulations are due in less than three weeks, but the public hearing in Annapolis Tuesday was the commission's first.
NEWS
August 26, 2014
I would like to share my organization's thoughts with regard to recent discussions about medical marijuana in Maryland and the question of whether physicians should receive additional training ( "Medical pot rules raise concern," July 26). As a statewide pharmacists' program with a mission to educate our field about drug and alcohol abuse, we are aware of the harmful effects substance use has especially when illicit drug and prescription drugs interact. Many clinicians outside of the pharmacy community lack the background necessary to discern the dangers recreational use of drugs can have on various health conditions due to prescription drug interplay.
NEWS
June 27, 2013
As a 33-year Maryland law enforcement veteran, I agree with 95 percent of what Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein says about the difficulty of decriminalizing marijuana ("Perils of decriminalization," June 21). A move to decriminalize marijuana would leave behind the deadly drug-dealing marketplace of Baltimore's street corners. Most people do not realize that alcohol prohibition was the decriminalization of alcohol. It was only illegal to manufacture, transport and sell, not to possess or consume.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 21, 2012
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would cut the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in a way that curtails the right to an initial jury trial on the charges. By a 16-4 vote, members said, the panel gave its OK to Del. Luke Clippingers's bill setting the maximum penalty for possesssion of 7 grams or less of marijuana at 90 days and a $500 fine. Previously those convicted of the charge could have been given up to a year in jail. With a potential penalty of more than 90 days, defendants were entitled to a jury trial in Circuit Court  -- an option may have taken.  Under the legislation, defendants would initially be  tried before a District Court judge but would retain the right to appeal to the Circuit Court.
NEWS
August 8, 2014
Op-ed writer Nate Greenslit is exactly correct in arguing that it would benefit the proponents of the use of psychedelics to focus the discussion toward the treatment of medical ailments ( "Are psychedelics the next medical marijuana?" Aug. 6). However, unlike medical marijuana, which is primarily being used to treat pain and glaucoma, the benefits to the field of psychotherapy and healing from psychedelics is enormous. Psychedelics actually have the potential cure depression, anxiety, phobias, PTSD and other mental illness.
NEWS
August 5, 2014
Faculty at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conclude, in a letter responding to the July 25 article "Medical marijuana rules for doctors raise concerns" that requirements on physicians recommending marijuana for medical use are "not a burden" ( "Physicians need periodic checkups in medical marijuana use," Aug. 1) That might be true in an ideal world. However, imposing unnecessary hurdles for doctors, like mandatory registration and special training, will invariably chill physician participation in the Maryland medical marijuana program.
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