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Maryland, after delays, begins selling medical marijuana

Rockville – Shops in the American state of Maryland has begun selling medical marijuana to residents in pain, ending years of delays by embarking on a programme 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 licenced dispensary,where owners began making sales soon after receiving their first shipment.

William Askinazi, one of the owners, said people who work at the store were euphoric that the day had finally arrived. More than half of all US states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalised a comprehensive medical marijuana programme, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

“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 as sales began.

Maryland approved its first medical marijuana law in 2013. But the effort stalled because it required academic medical centres to run the programmes 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 illnesses.

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.

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