WASHINGTON — Maryland’s medical cannabis program took a big step forward Monday as the state opened its registry, allowing the first round of patients to begin submitting applications to potentially receive marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries.
The program’s registry opened Monday morning for patients with last names that begin with the letters A through L.
“We’re doing a phased rollout,” said Shannon Moore, one of the members of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “The system is all online.”
Next week, the registry will open only for patients with last names that begin with the letters M through Z. Registration will open for all patients the following week.
Patients who wish to register will need to go to the commission’s website and fill out a form. Patients who are approved must then meet with their doctor in person to receive a written certification.
In order to issue the medical cannabis certification, a doctor must be registered with the commission.
“Your doctor has to certify you, and you have to meet one of the qualifying conditions,” said Moore. “You have to have a condition that is not otherwise suitably treated.”
“I got involved in this because I have twins with epilepsy, and I have been very excited to see this happen,” she added.
Some of the other qualifying medical conditions include cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
Once a patient is registered and has the doctor-issued certification, they are legally allowed to go to a Maryland-licensed dispensary to obtain medical marijuana. Dispensaries are not yet active anywhere in the state, but the commission says they should be opening their doors in the coming months.
“There is no legal medical cannabis available at this time, but we will have it this summer we anticipate,” Moore said.
Companies that grow, process and dispense medical cannabis are still working their way through the regulatory process. Once dispensaries begin to open, the commission says, it will post their locations on its website.