ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley will sign legislation to make Maryland the 19th state to approve a medical marijuana program, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday, but it remains unclear when the program will be up and running.
Raquel Guillory, O’Malley’s spokeswoman, confirmed the governor will sign the measure at a Thursday ceremony, along with dozens of other bills that include a repeal of the death penalty.
The medical marijuana bill allows academic medical research centers to establish programs to dispense marijuana to sick patients. While state analysts have projected a program would not be up and running until 2016, supporters say they are hopeful some research centers will move faster now that they have seen how it would work.
“I’ve long said Maryland should replace the dealer-patient relationship with the doctor-patient relationship,” said Delegate Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat who is an emergency room physician. “This law gives us a chance to do that.”
Morhaim said Sinai Hospital in Baltimore has expressed interest in the program.