On Thursday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will sign legislation to legalize medical marijuana in the state. House Bill 1101 will create a commission through which academic medical research centers can provide medical marijuana to patients.
The panel will be called the Natalie M. LaPrade Commission, after the mother of one of the bill’s sponsors.
The program, expected to be up and running in 2016, will allow academic medical centers to apply to provide marijuana to patients. The medical marijuana will be grown by licensed growers that are regulated by the commission. Participating centers will be required to keep track of their patients’ successes and failures with medical marijuana and report their findings.
It is unclear how many medical centers will opt into the program. So far, John Hopkins University and The University of Maryland Medical System have both confirmed that they are not currently interested in participating.
In addition to the medical marijuana bill, Governor O’Malley will also sign bills approving a tax credit for collecting oyster shells and one that will repeal the death penalty, among a dozen others.
Maryland joins 18 other states and Washington DC in providing medical marijuana to patients in needs.