CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ohio Marijuana Card has seen the majority of people in Ohio who are looking to get approved to take medical marijuana.
Before noon on Wednesday, the same-day medical marijuana dispensaries opened in Ohio, the company’s call center already had more than a thousand inbound calls, a company record.
“We have a lot of excited patients and we have a lot of people calling, looking to get approved,” said Connor Shore, President of Ohio Marijuana Card.
The company has 15 state-approved doctors who recommend medical marijuana. They are booking appointments to evaluate patient’s medical histories two months out at locations in every major city.
“We are booking some patients out into March, and we are trying to add doctors and expand our operating hours so we can see them sooner but if people want to be approved, there is going to be a wait right now,” Shore explained.
Shore is working on expanding the company into smaller cities like Youngstown in the coming months.
“The doctor does a brief physical examination, reviews their medical record, discusses the benefits of medical marijuana and how it might help them, and then at that point if they deem they have a qualifying condition the doctor will issue a recommendation,” Shore says of the process that his employees are often explaining to interested patients.
Dr. Alan Wine, a physician with more than 40 years of experience and a specialty in hematology, is one of nearly 400 doctors approved by the state to recommend medical marijuana.
“I was a disbeliever initially but as I kept hearing more and more stories I thought there must be something to it,” Wine said.
After doing his own research and then taking the state-required training course he decided medical marijuana could be beneficial to many patients.
Wine says the most common condition he sees people requesting marijuana for is chronic back pain. There are 21 total conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
“A lot of my patients had pain problems and most of them never got good relief of pain from standard therapeutics,” Wine said.
Once a patient is approved, they get a marijuana ID card from the State of Ohio, and they can shop at any dispensary immediately. They are required to have an in-person check-up with a doctor at least once a year.
One of Dr. Wine’s patients is Kelli White. White traveled to the company’s Cleveland office off Mayfied Road on the East side. White has suffered with chronic pain and several other conditions for more than 20 years with no real relief.
“I’m not really into pumping my body full of chemicals so I think this would be a great alternative,” says White, who admits she thought she would be the last one to try medical marijuana.
The idea of getting rid of her pain brought White to tears in the doctor’s office, “I would definitely have someone cone in here. I’m just happy to get some relief, maybe, hopefully it works.
Medical marijuana also promises relief to Amanda Elliott and her four-year-old daughter, Mackinzie, who has epilepsy. Elliott and her daughter were the first people into Ohio Marijuana Card’s Westlake office.
“She was having 10 seizures a day and we started using it and we are down to one every 18 days,” Elliott explained.
Her daughter uses a product that does not contain THC, the chemical that gives a high.
“It’s not a bunch of 18 to 24-year-olds looking to get high. It’s a lot of people that are living with very debilitating medical conditions that have tried alternative treatments and they just don’t work for them,” Shore explained.
Ohio Marijuana Card has several payment methods for patients. They charge $280, which includes the exam, recommendation and any additional appointments the patient may need for a year. They also have a three-month payment plan and a membership plan where patients pay monthly.