Maryland is considering a state controlled dispensary system, much like the model that is being proposed in New Jersey (see the link). Unlike other medical states, where you grow your own or purchase it from a dispensary that is privately owned, the Maryland proposal would be run by the government. Medical marijuana would be grown and harvested at a state facility, which Maryland’s Agriculture and Health Departments would be responsible for operating. From there it would be dispensed from state sponsored outlets.
I have long been an opponent of the government running every facet of a state medical marijuana program. I think there should be SOME government oversight to ensure patients are not getting taken advantage off. However, I don’t think the government should (or can) grow the grade/amount of medical marijuana that patients need. I guess I don’t have a problem if they want to try and grow some medicine to raise some tax revenue, but don’t take away the patient’s right to grow it for themselves. The quality of the medicine, as well as the access to the medicine, will suffer if the government has the monopoly on medical marijuana cultivation.
What experience does Department of Agriculture/Health employees have that make them qualified to grow marijuana? Growing a potato or oak tree is one thing, trying to get a marijuana plant to reach its top potential is much more difficult. Patients don’t have time to wait for the State of Maryland to brush up on marijuana cultivation 101. They need it NOW.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to give patients the right to grow themselves, then the ‘closet green thumbs’ could come out of the shadows and use their talents to help alleviate the suffering of hurting patients? Because I guarantee it would get the medicine in the hands of patients faster, access would be spread throughout the state, and potency would be where it needs to be due to the fact that experienced experts are doing it. Maryland hasn’t even proposed how many dispensaries there will be, or where they will be located, but I can guarantee it won’t cover as much of the State as a ‘grow your own’ system would.