Reluctant doctors could hamper Missouri’s nascent medical cannabis program

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Missouri’s potentially robust medical marijuana market, with a tentative 2020 launch, is running into early resistance from doctors reluctant to recommend MMJ products to qualifying patients.

“I don’t think doctors are hostile,” said Dan Viets, head of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Industry Association. “The simple fact is that most doctors are uninformed about the use of marijuana as medicine.”

Instead, would-be users are turning to pop-up and specialty clinics advertising certification for about $200 or less.

The process for doctors to certify patients started on June 4.

To qualify for medical marijuana, a patient must have one of several conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraines or post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Missouri Medical Association, which lobbies on behalf of the state’s physicians, opposed the ballot initiative voters approved in November legalizing medical marijuana.

The association isn’t taking a stance on whether doctors should certify medical marijuana patients, but it isn’t recommending it.

Missouri medical marijuana regulators announced they plan to issue 60 cultivation, 86 processing and 192 dispensary licenses in the state’s initial MMJ permitting round.

The state will accept business applications Aug. 3-17, with final scoring scheduled by the end of this year and sales potentially starting as soon as January.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily