But he said his University City eye clinic isn’t certifying people for Missouri’s medical marijuana program.
People across the state are looking for doctors to certify them to buy marijuana for medical use, a process that started June 4. But they’re running into resistance. Marijuana isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration — the federal government classifies it as an illegal drug. There are no federally approved standard dosages or safety testing, a less-rigorous review process and no insurance coverage, leading some family doctors and primary care physicians to shy away from certifying patients.
Missouri is the 33rd state to legalize marijuana for medical use. In other states, the majority of marijuana patients have been certified by a small number of independent physicians or marijuana-specific clinics, Viets said.
Clinics are already popping up in the St. Louis region from Ferguson to west St. Louis County, advertising certification for about $200. On Wednesday, Green Health Docs, in Creve Coeur, had scheduled 48 appointments for a six-hour window. The Maryland-based multi-state company, which also has locations in Columbia and Kansas City, has been receiving inquiries from marijuana hopefuls since February.
Advertisements for the “Coming Out party” promised “doctor signing medical cards” and “medical cards signed all day.” Thomas said Friday the intent was to offer a stigma-free place where, for $99, qualifying patients could get certified after providing their medical records, watching an informational video about marijuana, undergoing a psychiatric exam and visiting with her.
Some states with medical marijuana programs have asked doctors to register as marijuana-friendly or as willing to prescribe marijuana dosages for patients. Missouri only asks doctors to certify that their patient has a qualifying condition. The state will not require certified patients to have specified dosages prescribed — they will be able to enter a dispensary and buy up to four ounces of marijuana or its equivalent in infused products each month. A person who wants more marijuana needs two physician certifications.
Physicians groups including the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and the Missouri State Medical Association opposed the ballot initiative voters approved in November that legalized marijuana for medical use.
Coltyn Turner, in a 2018 photos, stands outside his home in Jerseyville holding a wheelchair that he was confined to in 2014 because of symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Turner credits marijuana treatments with his recovery. Photo courtesy of Coltyn’s Crue foundation.
“I would say to doctors and people who are skeptical about cannabis that there isn’t really anything that we could say or do to convince you 100% until you see firsthand how this is helping someone you know,” said Coltyn Turner, a marijuana patient in Jerseyville who recently started a foundation to raise money for cannabis research.