A new “cannabis clinic” with eyes on the Queen City is shedding light on the sometimes confusing rollout of medical marijuana in Missouri.
Springfield Business Journal contacted Emily Branch, CEO of The Green Clinics, ahead of her company’s 4 p.m. opening yesterday at 415 Delaware St. in the Kansas City River Market.
The Green Clinics pairs physicians — who are on staff with the company — with potential medical marijuana patients. Customers pay a clinical fee to determine if they’re eligible for a prescription under the list of qualifying medical conditions — among them being cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma — presented in the November 2018 voter-passed Amendment 2. The doctors then would send the approval on to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, through which customers would pay a $25 fee to receive their cards.
“The state will send them cards within 30 days if they’re deemed qualified,” Branch said. “They can start applying for those medical cards on June 4.”
Applications for cards will begin to be accepted on July 4, according to the DHSS.
The demand is strong for cards, Branch said, prompting The Green Clinics to get started before applications officially open.
“Their current doctors’ hands are tied,” she said, noting practicing physicians are unable to prescribe medications in violation of federal law, which deems marijuana illegal. “The reason we’ve opened so early is because there’s such a demand for patients to see physicians who are free to write these certifications.”
Based upon the state licensing process, Branch said she expects medical marijuana dispensaries — stores where customers with medical cards can purchase cannabis — to start opening by late 2019 or early 2020. She said 24 dispensaries are allowed in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts, meaning there would be a max of 24 shops in the Springfield area. Per Amendment 2, customers would be able to purchase four ounces of flowered cannabis per month and grow up to six flowering plants, Branch said.
Earlier this month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported DHSS had already brought in $3 million from medical marijuana cultivation facility application fees. The names of the companies are being kept a secret, and Branch was unsure of any businesses targeting the Springfield market. The department is not officially accepting applications until August, but companies may pre-pay the nonrefundable application fee before that time.
The Green Clinics, which also offers cannabis education courses, has plans for eight of its locations statewide. A Springfield location is on tap by year’s end, she said.
“We are considering all our location options at this time,” Branch said, noting an exact spot in Springfield hasn’t been locked down.
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