Maryland's Darrell Putman Compassionate Use Act
SB 502

Signed into law May 22, 2003 by Governor Robert Ehrlich

[To read the full text from the Bill, in rich-text format, click here.]

According to The Associated Press, on May 22, 2003 Maryland's Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich signed SB 502 into law, "refusing to bend to pressure from the Bush administration." Maryland became the 9th U.S. state to have medical marijuana laws, joining Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada and Maine.

The Associated Press article by Angela Potter, "Ehrlich SIgns Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law," published on May 23, 2003, reported:

"The new law does not legalize marijuana, but reduces the penalty to a maximum $100 fine with no jail time. Defendants, however, must convince a judge they need marijuana for medical reasons."

Associated Press also noted:

"Despite opposition from some Republicans, [Governor] Ehrlich had indicated support for the bill early on because of his belief that people can differntiate between legalizing the drug and allowing those dying of chronic illnesses to alleviate their pain.

'This is a position I've had for many, many years,' Ehrlich said at Thursday's signing ceremony. 'It is not without controversy. It's not without controversy across parties, across chambers, across states, across the country.'"

The Associated Press noted opposition from U.S. White House drug czar John P. Walters:

"'I suspect that Governor Ehrlich acted with the best of intentions, with an honest desire to help people, but it looks like he may have been misled on the actual science and public health issues here,' Walters said Thursday [May 22] in response to the signing. 'It would be truly unfortunate if today's actions led, however unintentionally, to greater use or availability of dangerous drugs in Maryland.'"

To read the full text from the Bill, in rich-text format, click here.