ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Medical marijuana is one step closer to being available in Maryland.

As Tracey Leong explains, the rules for using the drug were voted on Thursday.

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The Medical Marijuana Committee passed the regulations unanimously. It was a decision that many people who attended the meeting were happy to hear.

“I represent one of the many residents of Maryland who are in need of this program that have either been forced to take the risk of being a criminal or to just suffer while waiting,” said patient advocate Brian Smith.

Smith applauded the work of the commission for working hard to finalize the regulations for medical marijuana.

“We want to get this program up and running and we want to get marijuana in the hands of patients. We want our growers happy, we want our dispensers happy and we want to make this a success for the state of Maryland–not a failed program,” said Paul Davis, Medical Marijuana Commission.

The vote was delayed at their meeting last month. The panel took extra time to review and finalize the draft.

Since then, they’ve made several adjustments, including the addition of marijuana extracts so patients could ingest the drug without smoking.

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“I’m a 40-year cancer survivor. The last four years is how I discovered marijuana,” said Cary Myers, patient advocate. “And it absolutely helps me in my needs to take care of.”

Patient advocates as well as interested growers and distributors are all looking forward to making cannabis available. Many are anxious to get the program up and running.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our community, for the patients in our community and we want to be part of the process,” said Ronnie McGaskey, interested in distribution.

“It’s going to generate a lot of tax money. That’s why it’s important for the state. But for the people in this states, there’s a lot of people that need it,” Victor Vito, interested grower.

The committee will be meeting again at the end of January. That’s when they’ll discuss their progress on the operation of the program.

The regulations will now head to the secretary of health and mental hygiene for approval.

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