Being able to buy medical marijuana in Missouri is a ways away, but one company in Columbia is getting a head start.
Green Health Docs, the first medical marijuana examination clinic in Columbia, opened Thursday. Unlike a dispensary, the clinic does not sell medical marijuana; it examines individuals to make sure they are eligible for medical marijuana cards.
Although official registration for the cards doesn’t begin until July 6, the clinic aims to help patients obtain a card by pre-approving them through licensed physicians, the clinic’s Patrick Wilson said.
That way, when summer comes around, the patients will know that they meet the qualifications necessary, he said.
“We make sure that the diagnosis is right and legal,” Wilson said.
To be eligible for a medical marijuana card, a patient must be diagnosed with one of the 21 qualifying conditions, which include Alzheimer’s disease, any terminal illness, cancer and chronic pain.
“Medical marijuana patients often have conditions that result in serious pain or psychological trauma,” Anand Dugar, owner of Green Health Docs, said in a statement. “These patients have exhausted all other options, or they are are seeking alternatives to opioids and other prescription medications.”
The Green Health Docs clinics, which are also in Maryland, Ohio and Oklahoma, have a doctor at every location as well as a call center, according to a company news release.
“We’re not telling people to just go and get some” medical cannabis, Wilson said. “We’re here to educate them, too.”
Although registration opens in July, medical marijuana dispensaries won’t start opening for at least another year, Wilson said. However, once registered, patients can begin growing their own plants.
“Some people are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he said. “They don’t want to have to wait anymore.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Wilson said, at least seven people had stopped by the clinic for more information.
“There are literally thousands of qualifying patients living here, from students at the University of Missouri to senior citizens living in retirement communities,” Dugar said in a statement. “Our goal is to help each and every one of them get their evaluation so they can obtain their Missouri medical marijuana card once the registry opens.”
The clinic is located at 303 N. Stadium Blvd., Suite 200. The phone number is (314) 282-8017.
Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.