BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After years of lobbying and debate, medical marijuana is about to go on sale for the first time in Maryland.

Dispensaries are in the final stages of opening for business.

With a ribbon cutting and a bit of applause this morning, Rise Silver Spring opened its doors.

“It’s a very welcoming environment,” said former Baltimore Ravens Eugene Monroe, a cannabis advocate and Green Thumb Industries partner. Green Thumb Industries is the company that operates Rise Silver Spring, and Monroe was there for the ribbon cutting.

“We want patients who come here who are sick and suffering to come into an environment where they feel welcome and comfortable.”

People like Anne Quinlan and Judd Juha, both Stage 4 cancer patients, who were filling out the paperwork Tuesday to get state clearance to buy medical marijuana. The plants are currently growing in state-licensed greenhouses, and soon cannabis products will be sold in dispensaries throughout the state.

“I’ve had a really hard time gaining weight back,” says Quinlan. “I lost a lot of weight, so I wanted it for that purpose, to stimulate my appetite so I can gain weight back.”

“I’ve got Stage 4 lung cancer and I get serious pain sometimes, and it helps a lot,” Juha says.

Monroe wrote about his own struggles with pain for The Players’ Tribune in August.

“A year ago, I retired from football, but the effects of playing this game will likely never leave me,” he wrote. “Managing my physical condition has become part of my daily routine, and unfortunately, it may be this way forever.”

He also wrote that he firmly believes that marijuana “should be available without any sense of shame or fear to those who view it as a healthier alternative to opioids.”

Today was just an open house at Rise Silver Spring, with empty display cases.

When those cases are filled, “the products will be oils, concentrates, transdermal patches, creams, pills and obviously flower as well,” says Andy Grossman, also of Green Thumb Industries. “There will be no edibles allowed in the state of Maryland.”

And state rules dictate strict security, too.

“Security is a priority of ours,” Monroe says. “Not just for our business, but for our patients as well.”

“It’s been underground way too long, and I think the federal government really needs to change and take this off the class “A” list,” Juha says. “It’s ridiculous.”

To qualify for medical grade takes filing paperwork with the state, and a doctor’s approval. It’s always taken patience, and it still does.

“It depends upon when the growers will have product delivered to the dispensaries,” Grossman says.

And the first arrival of medical marijuana is expected next week.

Besides Rise Silver Spring, there are currently nine other dispensaries licensed by the state to sell medical marijuana.

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