AUGUSTA, Maine — State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, is sponsoring legislation that would allow medical marijuana patients legal access to their prescriptions in a hospital.

Brakey’s bill, LD 35: An Act To Allow a Qualifying Patient To Use Medical Marijuana in a Hospital, is a response to federal licensing laws that prohibit patients from using legally prescribed medical marijuana in the hospital.

According to a news release issued by Brakey’s office, the issue recently has been in the spotlight in Maine because of a Dixfield mother’s efforts to ensure her daughter, who suffers from severe epilepsy, could have access to her medical marijuana during a hospital stay.

Brakey’s bill adds hospitals to the universe of medical facilities, where qualifying patients may use and store forms of smokeless, prepared marijuana and eliminates the ability of these medical facilities to prohibit or restrict the use or storage of smokeless, prepared marijuana by a qualifying patient.

“This legislation is about protecting patients,” Brakey said in a prepared statement. “The hospitals are not the bad guys here. They are caught between a rock and a hard place in complying with federal law and allowing patients to use a legally prescribed drug.”

Brakey, senate chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, said the bill will be the subject of public hearings and work sessions in the weeks ahead.

“Sick people, including children, need access to their treatments,” Brakey said. “Since the federal government has not taken the steps to address this licensing issue, we must.”