KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new kind of clinic opened its doors in Kansas City for patients who believe medical cannabis can heal their pain.
Back in November, Missouri voters approved an amendment to legalize medical marijuana. But because of federal laws, many doctors are still reluctant to approve the drug for patients.
But on Wednesday, the first board-certified medical cannabis clinic in the Kansas City area hosted a grand opening Wednesday night. It's also believe to be the first of its kind in the entire state.
“This is about public health. This is about peoples lives and their wellness," Andy Obermueller said.
On Wednesday night, Green Clinics, located in the River Market, welcomed the public, introduced staff, discussed the therapeutic uses of cannabis and answered questions about the new laws and what they mean for Missouri residents.
To use cannabis, patients first must obtain certification of a qualifying condition from a state-licensed physician. Green Clinics’ staff doctors, who are state-licensed and board-certified, will evaluate patients and provide the necessary “physician certification” document if the patients meet the state requirements.
"This is not a matter of somebody just coming in and saying, ‘I have this.' You have to prove it," said Dr. Mark Scott with Green Clinics.
The patient will then submit an application, along with their physician certification document to the state, beginning July 4.
The state will then review the patients’ applications, and if the patients meet the requirements, will issue a card required to legally buy and possess cannabis.
The clinic said if patients want to be among the first to obtain medical cannabis cards, they need to begin a patient/doctor relationship as soon as possible with a state-licensed physician.
“The state has 30 days to grant or deny the medical cards, and the first patients can receive their cards from the state is early as Aug. 4," Green Clinics CEO Emily Branch said.
An important note: The Green Clinics is not a dispensary. There is no medical marijuana on the premises and there never will be.
“Our clinic is not a rubber stamp,” Branch said. “That’s not how it works. Not everyone who wants to use cannabis will qualify, and we’re sticklers for following the law and its spirit to the letter."
Patients with qualifying conditions, like cancer, a terminal illness or PTSD, will pay $299 for a doctor's exam at Green Clinics. Veterans and people on disability pay much less. Because of the federal ban, it's not covered by insurance.
The Green Clinics can be reached at 816-514-0023 or patients can schedule an appointment online.