Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2002
Source: Frederick News Post (MD)
Copyright: 2002 Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company
Author: Donald E. Murphy


Contrary to Sen. Tim Ferguson's Jan. 30 letter ("Ferguson against medical 
marijuana operated by state"), the medical marijuana bill I am sponsoring 
in Annapolis does not provide legal shelter for drug dealers.

The only individual who can legally provide medical marijuana to a patient 
under my bill is that patient's primary caregiver, and a primary caregiver 
is not authorized to do anything related to marijuana that is not necessary 
for the patient's specific, authorized medical need.

The bill requires that patients and their caregivers obtain ID cards issued 
by the state health department. It is not reasonable to think that drug 
dealers will be voluntarily providing their names and addresses to the 
state government. It just won't happen.

If drug dealers claim to be protected by this bill, they will be subject to 
even greater criminal penalties. And I have full faith and confidence in 
the ability of our courts and police to distinguish between legitimate 
patients and drug dealers. I would not be advocating for this legislation 
if it contained loopholes that protected drug dealers.

Let's do the right thing and pass this conservatively drawn, narrow piece 
of legislation that only protects patients, their doctors and their 
registered caregivers.

DONALD E. MURPHY, Maryland state delegate, Catonsville
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