History of medical marijuana in Maryland

October 1, 2020 at 4:00 AM
This is a picture of medical marijuana in Maryland.

Medical marijuana has been shown to be beneficial in treating axiety, inflammation, pain, and more. While it’s been legal in Maryland since 2014, legislators had to overcome years of negative opinions on cannabis in order to make that happen. Even today, medical marijuana laws vary from state to state, and not all states have legalized medical marijuana. Here’s a look at the history of medical marijuana in Maryland.

Prior to medical marijuana legalization

In 1951, federal law established that people convicted of possessing marijuana would be required to serve a jail sentence of two to 10 years and pay a fine of up to $20,000. The 1970s saw the start of the War on Drugs, which increased prison sentences for drug dealers and users in an attempt to crack down on illegal drug use and distribution.

Over the years, some people supported tougher laws around drugs, and others thought the possession of marijuana should be decriminalized. There was also a growing interest in the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Maryland wouldn’t do the same for nearly another two decades.

In 2010, Maryland had one of the highest rates for cannabis possession arrests in the country.

2014: Medical marijuana is legalized in Maryland

Jake’s Law was passed in 2014 to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis in Maryland. That same year, medical marijuana in Maryland became legal with the passing of House Bill 881. This bill established the Natalie M. La Prade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to oversee the program. Rules were also established regarding the cultivation, possession, consumption and sale of medical cannabis.

With the passing of House Bill 881, various health professionals – including physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and podiatrists – were allowed to register with the state in order to obtain a license to prescribe medical marijuana.

In order to qualify for participation in the program, patients had to have one of the conditions listed as being approved for treatment with medical marijuana. They also had to obtain a medical marijuana card from a licensed physician.

2017: Dispensaries open

Even though medical marijuana became legal in Maryland in 2014, the program did not become fully functional until December 2017. At this point, dispensaries were allowed to open and sell product. To start, there were 550 health care providers registered to prescribe medical marijuana and 8,500 Maryland residents signed up for a medical marijuana card. The industry has since expanded drastically in the state of Maryland.

About Outreach Primary Care

Outreach Primary Care is a group of expert clinicians who take a patient-centered approach to treatment. From wellness exams, to diagnostic care, to medical evaluation and treatment, as well as referrals to specialists, we do everything in the best interests of your health and wellness. We treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, diabetes, thyroid issues, skin diseases, nausea and GI-related issues, and more.

At Outreach Primary Care, we’re able to help qualified patients obtain a medical marijuana card. We start by performing a thorough consultation, including reviewing your medical history and performing an examination to better understand your health issues. If you qualify for a medical marijuana card, we’ll provide you with information on how to safely use medical cannabis. We also suggest you take the time to learn the laws regarding medical marijuana possession.

If you’re interested in learning more about medical marijuana and how Outreach Primary Care can assist in your health and wellness journey, give us a call today at 800-217-6407.