Maryland lawmakers introduce bills that aim to normalize medical marijuana usage

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering legislation that would change how the state views its marijuana users. A list of bills were introduced Tuesday that aim to help normalize medical marijuana usage in the state.

State Senator Bobby Zirkin told FOX 5 the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug makes life difficult for residents who are prescribed it for medicinal purposes.

In response, Zirkin introduced several bills aimed at protecting those residents.

One of Zirkin's proposals says people who are prescribed medical marijuana should not be denied the right to purchase or possess a firearm.

He introduced another bill that prohibits a landlord from denying a lease to a medicinal marijuana user solely on the basis of the possession of medical cannabis.

One of Zirkin's main bills he introduced involves business owners who say an employer should not be able to fire or even derail a hiring process of any person who is using medicinal marijuana -- a measure Zirkin says should have some caveats.

"If it impacts your job performance in any way, that's fair game, but if it's simply because the employer doesn't like it or doesn't think it should be a legal medication, I'm not sure that that should be something that's allowed," said Zirkin.

FOX 5 spoke to several business owners in Annapolis about the bills and they all appeared to agree with the proposed legislation.

"I have no problem hiring someone that uses marijuana. I think it's pretty much a natural product. It's very well accepted in Maryland. I'm from Howard County. It's not an issue out there. And I would definitely hire someone. Not a problem at all," said Rick Lepski of Eyes on Me.

"I think it makes it difficult for people that really need the marijuana for pain and for chronic situations and it's shown that it is truly helpful so I think as a society we need to broaden our horizons on how we approach that," said Lisa Imler of Seasons Taproom.