12-13-11: Approaches to Medical Marijuana
[audio http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wypr/local-wypr-996953.mp3]Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Maryland is not one of them. But last spring the legislature set up workgroup to assess the best way of providing access to marijuana to patients in Maryland.
The workgroup included doctors, pharmacists, lawmakers and law enforcers. Its 22 members could not reach consensus – they split almost down the middle, and last week presented two competing plans. The first would depend on academic institutions to control which patients would be eligible. The second, more liberal approach, would allow independent physicians to prescribe the drug.
Sheilah learns about both models — she speaks first with Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary for Maryland’s Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene, who supports the involvement of an academic institution.
She then talks with Delegate Dan Morhaim, Democrat of Baltimore County, and the legislature’s only physician. He supports the physician recommendation model.