If you’ve ever watched C-Span (you haven’t) or witnessed a poet compose a sonnet (you won’t), then you’ll realize a lot of the diction and syntax (that’s word choice and sentence structure) takes a long time to get right; specifically, for laws and poems. So the proposed Senate plan to decriminalize marijuana will go the way of many pieces of legislation: endless debate about rhetoric. Check out what the reps from Maryland want to change/adjust/qualify after the jump.
Here’s the phrasing lawyers on the Judiciary Committee are looking to change:
they want to reduce the burden of proof required to show medical necessity from “clear and convincing evidence” to a “preponderance of the evidence.” Such a change would align medical necessity with other forms of affirmative defense, such as self defense.
Many of the same delegates said they want to strip the Senate bill of details about what kinds of evidence could be presented in court. The Senate plan says a person claiming medical necessity may use a doctor’s note, medical records or the the doctor in person. Delegates argued the general rules of evidence should be applied and that lawmakers should not be laying out a special list of evidence.
Delegates also said they’d like prosecutors to be given two weeks notice when a person plan to use medical necessity as a defense to marijuana possession charges. Others said lawmakers should consider limited the amount of the drug that can be claimed as use for medical reasons.
I’ve read this about three times, and I’m still not sure what the hell they’re saying, and I dated a lawyer for five years. I’ll take a stab at it though. Basically the lawyers on the judiciary committee want to lessen the burden of proof required for medical necessity, or in layperson speak: they want to make it easier to prove you need the herb for medical reasons.
Also, at stake are the “kinds of evidence” that can be presented in court to ascertain the culpability of a regular marijuana user vs. a medical marijuana user. Rather than the specific evidence the Senate provided: “doctor’s note, medical records or the the doctor in person,” the delegates in the house want to “strip the Senate bill of details about what kinds of evidence could be presented in court.” They want it to be the same as “general rules of evidence,” which I think is a good thing.
I’ve done my best to extrapolate what this all means, and the final conclusion: it’s good. They’re making it easier to get marijuana cleared under the pretense of medical relevancy. I’ll leave it up to readers whether I’m right. For now, I’m just gonna chill out with some DJ Shadow:
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