My First Day Purchasing Medical Cannabis in Maryland: A Patient’s Perspective

As Maryland patients are finally able to purchase medical cannabis from local dispensaries, one Green Health Docs patient wanted to share his story and his feelings on December 1, 2017.  This was the first day dispensaries were open in the state of Maryland and the first time this patient has EVER purchased marijuana from ANY dispensary (medical or recreational) in any state.  

My Cannabis Story Started in My Home State of Maryland

Today was a great day. A day I will never forget, a day I never thought would happen. Today I purchased legal medical cannabis from a dispensary in my home state of Maryland. It still hasn’t sunk in even as I ingest some of my newly gotten medicine to help collect my thoughts and write this blog. For many, it’s been a long journey and wait for this day. Thousands of people have suffered from conditions that cannabis helps to treat and relieve symptoms of while state officials have slowly moved the industry in Maryland along. Today their wait ended.

I along with several hundred others, went to a local dispensary to obtain legal natural medicine. When I arrived you could feel the excitement in the air, the faces had smiles, people were happy.  The positive vibe that surrounded me at the dispensary was generated by patents and staff alike. People waited patiently in line while swapping stories of what today means to them.

Why it’s important that they have access to a natural medicine, of how they thought they’d never see this day. Many people came up to me and shared their personal story with me and spoke of how proud they were to be here today.

The staff at the dispensary that I spoke with were elated with the turnout and even more excited that they were able to help so many people. They went out of their way to make sure people were served with respect and dignity. They even put out doughnuts so people waiting in line felt appreciated while they waited.

When it was my turn at the counter I almost lost consciousness. This surreal feeling came over me and my life flashed before my eyes. You see, I have a story just like everyone else. 

My Story Isn’t Necessarily a Medical One…

Some years ago when I was just a wee lad and going to high school, I discovered cannabis. I fell in love with cannabis. I was 16 years old and would like to tell you that I used cannabis for medicinal reasons but I just liked the way it made me feel.  

Many years later I would discover the many medicinal benefits I was actually receiving from using cannabis but at the time I didn’t put it all together.  There I was a 16 year old high school senior getting good grades, playing sports, working a job, and getting high all the while. I knew an older guy that could get me all the cannabis (among other things) that I wanted. I also had lots of high school friends that had discovered cannabis but didn’t have a reliable source, or a safe one for that matter.

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and I saw a need that I could fill. It wasn’t anything big time, and I certainly wasn’t getting rich but even a 16yr old can figure out how to get free weed by buying large amounts and selling smaller pieces to their friends, and their friends, and their friends. Heck, a guy could even make a little scratch on the side too.

All the time I was thinking this is cool, nobody is doing anything wrong. These people want weed, I have weed, and so who gets hurt? You get the picture. I’m pretty sure most of the people I was selling to weren’t praising the medical benefits of cannabis, but I still didn’t see the issue.

I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face

People I knew were doing much worse things including harder drugs and alcohol.  Still, it was and still is against Federal law and at the time it was against state law as well. Needless to say high school kids aren’t always the brightest and somebody sold to someone they shouldn’t have and after a lengthy and secret police investigation many roads led to me.  I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when I was arrested and handcuffed in front of her. I’ll never forget the uncomfortable silence of the car ride home with my parents after they posted my bail.

The police threw the book at me. I was charged with several counts of possession, distribution, and conspiracy. The state also decided to charge me, a sixteen-year-old kid, as an adult. I was facing more years in jail than years I was alive.  I was expelled from school and attended night school to complete my diploma. Funny thing is I was exposed to more drugs at night school than I ever had been exposed to before. My trial happened a few months later. I was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison even though I was a minor and this was my first offense.   

Eventually, I was Able to Petition the Court for an Early Release

It took me a few years to rebuild my life.I was able to get into a work-release program so I could attend college. It was a bummer to not be able to go to campus parties and events because I had to be back in jail by 6 pm every evening. Still, it was better than it could have been and eventually I was able to petition the court for early release with strict weekly probation check-in and drug tests.  It would be some years later that I was finally able to have my criminal record expunged from the things I did when I was 16. (I still don’t think I did anything wrong.)

Fast forward to today when it all came flashing back to me as I was purchasing cannabis legally in the state of Maryland. It was a bittersweet feeling to know that the state that tried to lock me away at age 16 for selling cannabis was now taking a cut of my money as I legally purchased it under a state program.

The Times, They Are Changing My Friends

My story is not as important as the thousands of stories of people suffering from pain, cancer, and other conditions that were forced to break the law to get the treatment they wanted and deserved. Today is a victory for them. A victory for personal choice and a victory for compassionate people everywhere. It brings me great satisfaction to know these people’s suffering is finally over.

Today was a great day. A day I will never forget.