Recently, medical marijuana became available for purchase in the state of Maryland. As many flood the marketplace to seek out this alternative treatment, an industry is taking shape, and laws are being brought into focus.
With dispensaries opening their doors across the state, and doctors issuing written certifications, there are some legal aspects potential patients should consider.
Under federal law, prescribing medical cannabis is illegal
The federal government states that marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance with no medicinal value. As such, the Controlled Substance Act prohibits its prescription. This classification puts medical marijuana state laws at odds with their federal counterparts. Technically, while its use is legal in Maryland, you could be charged with a federal crime for possessing medical marijuana.
A written certification
A 2014 congressional budget amendment prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. While the government shows some leniency, doctors still must issue written certifications instead of prescriptions.
Healthcare providers must submit written certifications to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). Once approved, a registered patient is issued an ID to purchase medical marijuana.
Don’t travel out of state with medical marijuana
If you’re a medical marijuana user and you’re driving across state lines, leave it at home. Bringing marijuana on interstate travel is a violation of federal law.
What happens if law enforcement stops you with medical marijuana?
If a law enforcement officer stops your vehicle and you’re carrying medical marijuana, you should know that you don’t have to consent to a search. You also don’t need to disclose that it’s in your possession. If a search does find medical marijuana, show the officer your patient ID card. They should also be able to consult the MMCC database. Remember, it’s against the law in Maryland to drive under the influence of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana in the workplace
Maryland doesn’t have a law to stop employers from testing for medical marijuana. If you do test positive, there’s also not a law in place to prevent them from firing you. If you’re a potential patient, it’s important to find out your company policies regarding medical marijuana.
It will be interesting to monitor how medical marijuana continues to impact the law in Maryland. If you’re considering using this treatment, you would be wise to be aware of its legal ins and outs. Medical marijuana is a new phenomenon, but there isn’t always a learning curve with the law. Be sure that you know your rights, and consult expert legal help should you require it.