By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There’s progress for advocates of medical marijuana. The House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to establish a system that allows medical centers to dispense marijuana for those who suffer from qualifying illnesses.

Political reporter Pat Warren has reaction from longtime supporters.

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For the past three years, advocates for medical marijuana have pleaded their case in legislative committees.

“I feel like it would cut down on some of the pain I stay in,” said Lawanna Elsafty.

“If they had approved medical marijuana, I wouldn’t have had to watch him die in pain,” said Barbara Madison.

Monday, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 108 to 28 to pass a bill that established a commission to receive applications from academic medical centers to dispense marijuana to patients whose illnesses can be helped by using the drug.

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“My mom is just the face of all those who are suffering and dying,” said Delegate Cheryl Glenn.

The Natalie M. Laprade Commission is named in honor of Glenn’s mother.

“She’s the face of many who are suffering and even dying because their bodies get to the point where they die because they can no longer eat or drink,” Glenn said.

Marijuana could be distributed medically to induce appetite and relieve pain.

The bill now goes to the Senate. If it passes, it is expected the governor will sign it.

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The Senate has also passed a bill that reduces possession of small amounts of marijuana–10 grams or less–from a criminal offense with jail time to a civil offense with a fine.