Maryland’s medical marijuana program, finally about to launch, could remain grounded if Congress fails to extend limits on federal prosecutions for using and selling the drug.
Under pressure from the anti-cannabis Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the House of Representatives is balking at preserving an Obama-era provision that gives the states space to decide their own approaches to regulating the drug.
Maryland, joining almost 30 other states, is preparing to legalize marijuana for the purpose of treating medical conditions. After years of delays, its first licensed grower is weeks away from offering an approved product to sell to patients on the recommendation of a medical practitioner.
But Congress could soon pull the rug out from under Maryland and the other states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Leah Heise, a dispensary license holder who plans to open her doors in Hampden by January, said the entire industry is watching Congress with concern.
"Everybody would be at risk,” said Heise, owner of Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute. “It would put the entire cannabis industry at risk for prosecution.”