Patients seeking relief through medical marijuana can start to submit their applications for a recommendation this week.
Getting a medical marijuana program operational in Maryland has been a long road. Lawmakers approved a bill legalizing its use in April of 2014. House Bill 881 stated that medical marijuana use was appropriate for:
“Any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the symptoms ‘reasonably can be expected to be relieved’ by the medical use of Cannabis. In addition, if the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes severe loss of appetite, wasting, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms, or glaucoma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
The rollout of medical marijuana in Maryland is considered one of the slowest for any state ever. After years of delays, Maryland authorities are finally accepting patient applications for medical marijuana.
On Monday, patients with last names beginning with the letters A through L had the opportunity to apply. Those with last names beginning with M through Z will be able to submit their application starting next week.
“We’re doing a phased rollout,” said Shannon Moore, one of the members of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “The system is all online.”
Moore also clarified the criteria patients must meet before applying for the program.
“Your doctor has to certify you, and you have to meet one of the qualifying conditions,” said Moore according to WTOP. “You have to have a condition that is not otherwise suitably treated.”
After years of delays, residents in need of relief are anxious. Although the registration process has started, patients may still face a significant wait before they can rely on safe access.
“There is no legal medical cannabis available at this time, but we will have it this summer we anticipate,” Moore said.