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Business Still Brisk At Mmj Clinic.


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US MI: Business Is Still Booming at the First Legal Medical Marijuana Clinic in

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URL: http://www.mapinc.or...1/n135/a05.html

Newshawk: Richard Lake

Votes: 0

Webpage: http://mapinc.org/url/avAy6IOZ

Pubdate: Sun, 27 Feb 2011

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)

Copyright: 2011 Kalamazoo Gazette

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/vggfBDch

Website: http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/588

Author: Chris Killian, Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?275

 

BUSINESS IS STILL BOOMING AT THE FIRST LEGAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLINIC IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

 

KALAMAZOO - For more than a year, David Crocker has been providing the means for thousands of people around Southwest Michigan to control their pain or ease the symptoms of a disease.

 

Crocker, along with his wife, Annette, opened Michigan Holistic Health on the corner of South Westnedge Avenue and Crosstown Parkway last Feb. 15, becoming the first medical marijuana clinic in Southwest Michigan since the voter-approved law went into effect in April 2009.

 

Since then, business has been brisk.

 

After the successful launch of his Kalamazoo clinic, where he charges $200 for medical marijuana recommendations to patients who qualify to use the drug under the state's law, Crocker opened another clinic in Grand Rapids in July.

 

He started seeing patients in Muskegon, where he is renting office space, in December. Another clinic will open in Battle Creek in the very near future. He's constantly hiring more help and adding phone lines at his clinics.

 

"Demand is obviously high," Crocker said. "Patients are getting the relief they deserve - decreased pain, an improved lifestyle. They don't have to be worried now and be looking over their shoulders."

 

More than 5,600 people have come into one of Crocker's clinics over the past year. He has recommended more than 5,000 of them to use medical marijuana, a sizable chunk of the more than 58,000 registered medical marijuana patients in the state.

 

He's seen patients from as far south as Coldwater and as far north as Big Rapids and several points in between.

 

In spite of the strength of the demand - Crocker says that it's "as strong as ever" - many municipalities across the region over the past year have passed ordinances to more tightly regulate medical marijuana in their communities.

 

The city of Kalamazoo passed an ordinance making medical caregiver operations subject to the regulations of a home-based business, Kalamazoo Township passed a moratorium on new caregiver operations until it can craft a medical marijuana ordinance and the city of Wyoming banned medical marijuana altogether in November, just to name a few.

 

And although Crocker - a fervent believer in the therapeutic value of marijuana - said he doesn't think that moratoriums are a bad idea so that local units of government can define how to deal with dispensaries in their jurisdictions, the flurry of ordinances tightening control of the use of the drug or simply banning it fly in the face of the will of the voters.

 

"There's clearly a gap between the leadership and the will of the people in some places," said Crocker, a medical doctor.

 

Voters passed the ballot measure by 63 percent in Nov. 2008. It passed in all of Michigan's 83 counties.

 

Crocker said he is seeing people come into his clinics who had previously believed that marijuana was nothing more than a drug to get high on. Now, after they have spoken to others who have benefited from the drug, they are asking for a medical marijuana recommendation to relieve their own symptoms.

 

"We're seeing people 50, 60, 70 years old coming in," he said. "Some waited a year before they decided to see us."

 

Said Annette Crocker, a registered nurse: "They are telling us: 'I don't care about the taboo. If it works, I'll try it.'"

 

When asked to predict the future of how marijuana will be seen in the state, Crocker said he believes - or at least hopes - the drug is eventually legalized.

 

"I guess that would put me out of business," he said. "But I really don't care."

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

Edited by greenbuddha
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