Dear Maryland Cannabis Commission, Another Argument in Favor of Out of State Patients

Okay, I’ve had time to digest the decision of the MMCC to not allow out of state patients access to life-changing medicine based off of their address. I’ve come to grips with thousands of people still having to go through black market sources and all that comes with that to obtain their medicine.  Not to mention the revenue that could be redirected to legally operating businesses and taxed accordingly.

I can ignore the damage it is has done to businesses that based their set up and growth models off of the published law allowing out of state patients. The law as written influenced decisions on location, size, and staffing, and changing it now hurts some businesses through no fault of their own. It has cost and will cost more jobs.

I feel terrible telling patients that we can’t help them based off of their address. One of the main reasons we exist is to help others. It’s a core goal of our organization. The industry as a whole is a passionate group of professionals that are working day and night to provide patients a safe and natural alternative to modern pharmaceuticals.

Maryland vs Other States – Out of State Cannabis Patients

Our goal is to give patients a safe and private facility to obtain natural high-quality medicine. We don’t care where you live. If you have a qualifying condition, we want to help you. I believe that it’s a right and a personal choice for each of us when it comes to our health. Just as you have a choice of whether you work out or not, or your diet. These are your personal choices. You have a right to choose what medicines you’d like use, and what treatments you want to try. As in most things in life, it comes down to your own personal choice.

Speaking of personal choice, this is what disturbs me most. This is what I have trouble reconciling. We live in a country where I as a resident of Maryland can go to many states including, for example, Colorado, and purchase cannabis legally and recreationally. Colorado doesn’t care that I’m a Maryland resident. They will happily sell me cannabis, tax me, and wish me a pleasant day. At this point it’s my personal choice if I decide to leave the state of Colorado with the cannabis and risk breaking the law in another state.  

I do not condone or recommend transporting legal cannabis into or to a place where it is illegal, but again it’s your personal choice if you try. You know the consequences. You do know the consequences, right? Look into it if you don’t. Depending on where you are going you may be surprised of the risk you’re taking. My point is, I can recreationally buy cannabis in another state than the one I live in. So what’s the big deal with an out of state patient obtaining medical cannabis in Maryland?

These patients are told of the risks of taking the medicine across state lines. Many of these patients made the personal choice to take the risks involved with the convoluted and uneven laws and still sign up for the program. Look at it from their perspective. These are people who are suffering and many already know that medical cannabis helps them live a better quality of life.  They will find a way to get the medicine on the black market. Some already are.

The Out of State Cannabis Patient’s Option: The Black Market

On the black market, patients get to contend with shady characters, unsafe product, lack of selection of the strain they need for their condition, poor quality medicine, and the ever-present threat of arrest. Many of the out of state patients I’ve spoken with have told me they’d much rather explain to an officer that they are transporting legally recommended medical cannabis that they purchased at a legal dispensary in Maryland then explain why they are buying cannabis from a teenager behind the local Walmart.

These patients are forced to break the law either way. Some will illegally obtain their cannabis in Maryland and take back across state lines anyway. This decision of not allowing out of state patients into Maryland’s program will keep many patients from the natural medicine they want to use. It will also force many people to risk arrest while fueling black markets and putting desperate patients in dangerous situations.

Clearly, the better scenario for the out of state patient is to be allowed into Maryland’s medical cannabis program. The illegal alternative is always there for them too.

Let’s allow them to make a personal choice.