University of Baltimore Law Forum


In 2013, Maryland passed its initial medical cannabis law.1 Although seemingly a success in the medical cannabis reform movement, the law only allowed for “academic medical centers” to participate in the program.2 In essence, an academic medical center could dispense medical cannabis to patients who met the criteria for participation in their research program.3 The success of this type of program structure was a concern for medical cannabis advocates,4 and the concerns were validated when no academic medical centers decided to participate.5 As a result of this lackluster program, the General Assembly responded by passing a bill6 during the 2014 Regular Session to create a more inviting program, thereby making Maryland the 21st state to enact a comprehensive medical cannabis law.7 Under H.B. 881, the program was broadened to allow patients, physicians, growers, processors, and dispensaries to operate within a framework that would be set up by the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission (the “Commission”).8 The General Assembly further augmented Maryland’s medical cannabis law with the passage of H.B. 490.9 The purpose of this legislation, among other things, was to make access to the program easier for patients and physicians.10