I’ve been passionate about legitimizing marijuana’s medical benefits for a long time, especially when compared with the dangers and biased research about modern pharmaceuticals. It has been nice to see the pendulum swing toward accepting that cannabis can be good for humans and that relative to almost anything else you put in your body, it is very very safe. That being said, I am totally sick of dealing with the economic and legal structure surrounding medical marijuana and I have decided to close shop.
For the handful of folks that are curious about why we’d want to quit, let me explain some of the difficulties to finding enjoyment in medical marijuana work. First, the rollout of Ohio’s program was crippling from the start. Although the law stated that the dispensaries would open in September of 2018 when we opened our office, we did not have a functioning dispensary within 3 hours of us until 10 months later. And, lemme tell ya, trying to keeping a business running, selling medical marijuana services in state that doesn’t have marijuana, is not the best way to cover the bills.
Second, the logistics of cannabis retail in Ohio are really bizarre. Regulating cannabis through the pharmacy board makes sense on the surface, but leads to some odd consequences. Tiny plastic packages (plastic is horrible for cannabis), exorbitant prices (more than twice that of the black market), and a baffling system of daily doses based on grams and 90 day refills pretty much ensured that many patients stayed out of the dispensaries. At one point only 25% of people with a medical marijuana card had been to a dispensary. Trying to convince patients to get a medical marijuana card for the “privilege” of buying cannabis for $500 an ounce is depressing.
LET US GROW MARIJUANA AND USE IT. Make the data on how to grow it and use it correctly freely available. The same people who profited from making marijuana illegal and pushing pills down our throats are now making money selling marijuana using the tried and true capitalistic approach of creating artificial scarcity. Enough. Weed is good. Weed is safe. Grow some and smoke it. As a doctor, I’m happy to tell you how to do that in a smart healthy way.
Lastly, competing for dollars makes people do strange things. So many of our patients came to us from other medical marijuana companies with stories of hidden fees, 5 minute appointments, and doctors that they couldn’t get in touch with after their first visit. On social media I saw companies straight up lie about what you could and couldn’t do with a medical marijuana card so that they could attract more business prior to the dispensaries opening, and I dealt with a lot fo harassment for warning patients otherwise.
All of this being said, I really enjoyed doing medical marijuana work in Ohio. Our patients are amazing and seeing how so many of them swam upstream against the propaganda of big pharma and conservative politics to take charge of their own health is inspiring. I also had the pleasure of working with everyone at Lotus Health and they are some real people doing good work, so if you need a medical marijuana card or just a conversation with some of the smartest people around, give them a call. They’ve got your back. Many thanks to our patients and some of our all star supporters, Dan Nilsson, Teaera Roland, and Tiffany Sauls.
Don’t ever apologize for being right. Cannabis is safe and useful.
Back to the ER; try not to see me there.