Mike Young

Two competing plans emerge for medical marijuana in Md.

A state panel charged with making recommendations on medical marijuana presented two divergent plans Friday, failing to find consensus on an issue that will likely be debated during the coming legislative session.

The 22-member group, headed by Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, split almost evenly between two proposals. The first, backed by Sharfstein and the group's medical and law enforcement officials, would treat medical marijuana as an investigational drug. Under that proposal, the state would designate an educational research institution to dispense the drug to selected patients.

The second plan is a more liberal...