Md. Governor Ignores Bush, Signs Marijuana Law

We like Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich for this action today:

Refusing to bend to pressure from the Bush administration, Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich signed a bill Thursday that reduces criminal penalties for seriously ill people who smoke marijuana.

....Ehrlich is the first GOP governor to sign a bill protecting medical marijuana patients from jail, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Bush administration had pressed him to veto the measure. Ehrlich had indicated his support for the bill early on as a way to help people with chronic illnesses ease their pain.

The new law does not legalize marijuana, but reduces the penalty to a maximum $100 fine with no jail time if defendants convince a judge they need marijuana for medical reasons. Previously, possession or use of marijuana brought penalties of up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine.

We've had a few medical marijuana clients lately. We know it helps them. We think it's ridiculous that they are subjected to DEA raids in their homes with their children present, property foreclosures (including their homes where the pot is found) and jail.

We prefer decriminalization to legalization. Our clients go to jail if they can't get the proper medical marijuana license. Often, physicians don't want to sign onto a medical pot license. They're worried about their reputations and the heat it may bring. Enough with the rules. Let the sick smoke in peace, free from bureaucratic red tape. We have no objection to criminalizing pot sales to minors, but other than that, particularly for those in medical need due to chronic pain or nausea, let's just let them be.

Marijuana Policy Project and NORML have more.

< On William Pryor's Nomination to the 11th Circuit | Bipartisan Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Introduced in Congress >
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