Missouri citizens who are searching for physicians to certify them to purchase medical marijuana when the bans are raised next year are finding that doctors in the state are unwilling to do so. Instead, prospective users are turning to pop-up and specialty clinics which advertise certifications for less that $200.
The fact that most doctors are uninformed about uses of medicinal marijuana is the cause of this reluctance according to the head of Missouri Medical Cannabis Industry Association, Dan Viets.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported that Missouri is the 33rd state in the USA to legalize medical use of marijuana. In another states, patients seek certification from a small number of independent physicians.
The Missouri Medical Association are lobbying against this change and an initiative to have a ballot was approved in November. The ballot legalized marijuana for medical purposes in the state. The association now is unable to take a stand as to whether doctors should be recommending marijuana or not.
Marijuana is unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and the federal government has classified it as an illegal drug. No federally approved benchmark exists for safety testing or insurance covers of marijuana. These are all reasons that are deterring doctors from certifying patients.
Viets claims that the doctors are not being hostile by not certifying patients. He claims that most doctors work for hospitals or clinics, or some sort of corporations. In many cases, the policy of the corporation overrides the doctor’s.
The medical association is of the view that treatments and therapies must be researched, and evidence based, a standard that marijuana does not meet according to Jeff Howell, the Director of Legislative Affairs.
Psychiatrist Zinia Thomas has certified over 30 persons for medical marijuana through her alternative medicinal clinic in Brentwood. On 15th of June, she had offered to certify people at a party held at Fried STL, a cannabis themed restaurant which serves fried food.
Thomas said that the intention of this was to offer a place where patients could become certified for $99. They only required to bring with them their medical records, and watch an informational video. Thereafter, they had to go through a psychiatric treatment, and visit the doctor.
This move by Thomas came as she intended to certify patients in an environment they felt comfortable in, rather than feeling like drug users seeking illegal drugs. Medical marijuana is prescribed to patients who have a number of disorders such as glaucoma, migraines, PTSD or cancer. The Missouri procedure for doctors who want to certify persons to purchase marijuana began on June 4th, and applications are welcome on June 28th.