Patients in Missouri turning to Pop-up Medical Marijuana Clinics
Missouri is the 33rd state to legalize marijuana for medical use. In other states, most patients have been certified by a small number of independent physicians. Medical marijuana patients living in Missouri are currently turning to pop-up clinics to certify them as there is much reluctance from doctors to prescribe this substance. It is believed that doctors are just misinformed about marijuana as a medication causing these patients to pay upwards of $200 at specialty clinics!
The Missouri Medical Association, the state’s physicians’ lobby, originally opposed the ballot initiative voters had approved in November legalizing medical marijuana. The association is not taking a stance on whether doctors can certify medical patients, but is not recommending it. Right now marijuana is not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the federal government still classifies it as an illegal drug. As of June 2019, there are still no federally approved standard dosages or safety testing as well as no insurance coverage. These particular facts are leading doctors to shy away from certifying patients.
Jeff Howell, the director of legislative affairs states “The medical association thinks all treatments and therapies should be studied rigorously and be evidence based”. He also stated “Marijuana does not currently meet those standards.”
So, with the MMA opposing many aspects of the marijuana legislature, specialty clinics filling in the gaps. One psychiatrist has certified more than 30 people for medical marijuana at her alternative medicine clinic in Brentwood. She actually offered to certify people on June 15th at a local cannabis-themed restaurant. She said her intent was to offer a stigma-free place where qualified patients could get certified, for $99, after providing their medical records, watched an informational video, underwent a psychiatric exam and then followed up with visits in her office.
Psychiatrist Zinia Thomas states “We’re bringing it to them, in an environment where they’re comfortable and feel free as a patient, not a sort of ‘illegal drug user.”
To qualify for medical marijuana a patient must have one of several conditions including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraines or PTSD. The Missouri process for doctors to certify patients to buy marijuana started June 4. Residents can start applying with the state Friday, 06/28/19.