Patients in need of relief have been forced to wait years in order to access medical marijuana.
After years of delays, patients in Maryland will finally be granted safe access to medical marijuana.
Long lines formed on the first day of medical marijuana sales outside of Potomac Holistics, a dispensary located in Montgomery County. William Askinazi, one of the dispensary’s owners felt the excitement in the air as he waited for the first shipment of medical marijuana to arrive at his shop.
You can tell there’s a buzz, and we’re excited for so many reasons,” Askinazi said according to the Associated Press. “We’re giving care to people who need it.”
Although medical marijuana was approved after state legislatures passed HB 881, the program did not get off the ground for years. HB 881 originally required that only medical facilities could distribute marijuana. When no facility agreed to do so, patients were left in a bind.
The law was eventually changed but patients still had a long wait ahead of them before sales would start.
Patrick Allison, one of the first to get in line on the first day of sales, felt this was long overdue.
“It’s about time,” Allison said. “I live in chronic pain. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m about an eight right now on a scale of one to 10, head to toe. The only thing that works for me is marijuana.”
Unlike some states that have an extremely strict set of qualifying conditions in order to receive medical marijuana, Maryland patients with a ride range of ailments are expected to be eligible.
“In Maryland, there are very liberal qualifying conditions,” Askinazi said.
Maryland is allowing physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, podiatrists, and midwives to recommend medical marijuana. They will even have the authority to recommend marijuana for patients that are from out of state and come to visit Maryland.