It was his wife’s transverse myelitis that first got Tony Frazetti interested in medical cannabis.

The neurological disorder, which deals with spinal cord inflammation, left her in constant pain. He was tired of seeing her suffer ⁠— and medical cannabis provided her with the reprieve she needed, he said.

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“We were frustrated, nothing else worked," said Frazetti, 74, of Bolton Hill.

In the three years she’s been using it, he’s noticed significant positive change — and the opening of Carroll County’s first medical cannabis dispensary on Monday just made it easier for him, as a full-time caregiver, to connect her with the medicine she needs.

The long-awaited first day of business for Westminster’s Herbology was marked with a ribbon-cutting before registered patients formed a line that snaked out the door. Dispensary officials, Commissioner Dennis Frazier and representatives from the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Del. Haven Shoemaker’s office were among those in attendance.

Like many of the patients who came out, the business’ location on Corporate Center Court means Frazetti won’t have to drive to Frederick, Reisterstown or Columbia to get cannabis products, such as vapes, flower, topicals, concentrates and more. It’s close enough that he could ride his bike over, if he wanted.

“It’s extremely convenient,” Frazetti said.

About three years after the Maryland General Assembly approved cannabis for medical use, two companies won preliminary licenses to sell cannabis in Carroll County in 2016. And although Grassroots Cannabis, a growing facility in Taneytown, opened in 2017, there wasn’t a dispensary opening for business in Carroll until this week.

That meant Donald Griffith, a 44-year-old Westminster resident, had to drive 1 1/2 hours roundtrip to Towson or Frederick to get the cannabis he uses to ease his chronic pain and PTSD.

“It’s nice to be able to go right next door,” he said. “I’m finally glad that the world’s turning where this is normal.”

Cannabis dispensaries, which are limited to two per senatorial district, have popped up across Maryland in the years since the state legislature OK’d the industry. But hampered by restrictive zoning regulations, it was “very difficult” to find a location in Carroll, said Diane Davison, the dispensary’s owner.

“[I’m] very excited that the patients can finally obtain their medicine here locally," Davison said at the opening. “They don’t have to travel for it."

The dispensary is planning to offer information sessions to educate people about cannabis, she added.

“For some people, it’s a little scary. It’s new. Or it’s old, and new again,” Davison said. “But there are really such wonderful medical benefits dependent on each person’s medical condition.”

For Chad Lammey, who started using medical cannabis about a year ago, the substance has helped him cope with the pain of arthritis. He previously used prescription medication, but didn’t like ingesting the chemicals.

“It makes my day go a little smoother,” said Lammey, 41, of Westminster. “And then at night, I can relax, and not have to feel the constant pain.”

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Dennis Rhoten, who has had four vertebrae in his neck fused, uses the substance to help with his back pain.

Rhoten, 59, of Finksburg, said he “lived on” opioids for “quite a while," but now, he doesn’t take them at all.

“It’s just totally different, I don’t know how to explain it,” he said. “Cannabis works better than the opioids.”

In order to purchase cannabis, a person must receive an official recommendation for the drug from a registered provider. Patients can purchase products at the 2,550-square-foot space Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re happy that there’s a facility in Carroll County that’s up and running to meet the needs of folks here," Shoemaker said via phone after the opening.

Folks like Lammey.

“The benefits are uncanny," Lammey said, "from something that just grows from the earth.”

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