The question on whether medical marijuana patients should be treated by a doctor or just under the supervision of an academic institution is still a topic of debate for Maryland’s panel on medical marijuana laws.
It was in April this year when the state passed its medical marijuana law but some provisions did not make marijuana totally legal. This is why there is now an existing debate among lawmakers as to how medical marijuana should be distributed to patients.
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene chairman for the medical marijuana model program work group Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein confirmed that their group is divided especially on the issue with regards to the role of academic research institutions in their program.
As to how medical marijuana distribution should be carried out, the 22-member panel is split with 11 members endorsing distribution of pot to academic research institutions. The other half of the group (at least ten members as one member did not cast his vote) is in favor of putting medical marijuana distribution in the hands of dispensaries and pharmacies.
Supporters of the first plan which gives academic research institutions the authority for medical marijuana distribution say that it will be of advantage for patients since medical research for pot will continue under these institutions. “Marijuana is not a conventionally accepted treatment in medicine,” the proponents wrote. This would mean that patients can also participate in the research studies to find other benefits of medical marijuana.
For the group who calls for dispensaries and pharmacies to distribute pot, they on the other hand argue that doing so will pave the way for medical marijuana businesses to be legalized. “Currently, these patients have no safe means of obtaining marijuana and must instead obtain it from the illegal market or risk a felony criminal conviction by cultivating it,” the group continued.