By Alex Smith
Medical marijuana is not yet available for purchase in Missouri, but patients may be able to jump start the process and get it with the help of a newly opened clinic.
The Green Clinic opened for business this week in a fourth floor loft at 415 Delaware in the River Market, with two full-time doctors on staff to determine whether patients qualify to obtain medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana, which was approved in November through a ballot measure, won’t be available until at least early 2020, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the state won’t start accepting patient applications until July 4.
But Green Clinic founder and CEO Emily Branch says there’s already demand from patients.
“We’ve heard from patients that they’ve asked their regular physicians to certify them so that when the state comes out with the application forms, they will be able to attach that legal certification to the state application,” Branch said.
Under the Amendment 2 ballot measure, doctors must determine patients have a medical condition, such as epilepsy or glaucoma, that qualifies them to get an identification card that they can use to buy medical marijuana at a dispensary.
Polls suggest that many doctors in the Kansas City area may be reluctant to recommend their patients use medical marijuana.
Green Clinic Medical Director Kelly Logan says she became interested in medical marijuana as an alternative to narcotic pain killers.
Logan, who has worked in rehabilitation and hospice care, says her interest in medical marijuana grew from wanting to help patients avoid narcotic painkillers.
“I feel very strongly about not using narcotics for long-term functional reasons and also for outcome reasons,” Logan said.
Consultations with Green Clinic doctors cost $299, with discounts available for veterans and individuals on public assistance programs.
Branch says she’s planning to open eight Green Clinics across the state.
Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @AlexSmithKCUR.
This story was originally posted on the KCUR public radio website.
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