Pubdate: Fri, 01 Dec 2017
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2017 The Baltimore Sun Company


Maryland began the sale of medical marijuana to residents in pain on
Friday, ending years of delays by embarking on a program that features
some of the most liberal policies in the nation on who can qualify for
the prescribed cannabis.

Dozens of people stood outside a licensed dispensary in Montgomery
County, Potomac Holistics, where owners began making sales soon after
receiving their first shipment Friday afternoon.

"You can tell there's a buzz, and we're excited for so many reasons,"
Askinazi said. "We're giving care to people who need it."

A long line of people cheered late Friday as sales began.

Denise Broyhill was among the first in the door to buy marijuana
tablets. She said she was upbeat and relieved after years of delays by
authorities in making medical marijuana available in the state. A
resident of Annapolis, Broyhill also said she hoped for good results
managing the pain from a neurological condition.

"I'm very excited to try it and relieved to get through the whole
process after waiting so long," Broyhill said. "It's been a longtime,
but I'm looking to have some good pain management."

Maryland approved its first medical marijuana law in 2013. But the
effort stalled because it required academic medical centers to run the
programs, and none stepped forward. The law was changed in 2014 to
allow doctors certified by a state medical cannabis commission to
recommend marijuana for patients with debilitating, chronic and severe

While the initial rollout was initially expected to be limited due to
available supply, Askinazi said he expected to see between 600 and
1,000 patients over the next three days.

Patrick Allison of Annapolis was also among the first in line. He said
he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that
causes inflammation of the spinal joints that can lead to severe,
chronic pain and discomfort.

"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."

David Johnson of Frederick said he was relieved that he could now have
access to medical marijuana to ease pain from nerve damage. He said
he's tired of driving in pain to pharmacies in search of opioids.

"It's been a nightmare," he said. "This is a godsend."

Medical marijuana will be available for any condition that is severe
in which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the
symptoms "reasonably can be expected to be relieved" by marijuana.
Patients with a chronic or debilitating medical condition that causes
severe appetite loss, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures
or severe muscle spasms also can have access, as well as people with
glaucoma or post-traumatic stress disorder.

"In Maryland, there are very liberal qualifying conditions," Askinazi

Even further, Maryland will allow not only physicians but nurse
practitioners, dentists, podiatrists and nurse midwives to certify
patients as eligible to receive marijuana. People authorized to
recommend the use of medical marijuana will be able to do so for
patients from other states who travel to Maryland.
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