How to become a Medical Marijuana Patient

May2

Written by:
5/2/2011 1:01 PM RssIcon

Colorado Residency
   The web site for medical marijuana in Colorado is fairly comprehensive. Go to www.cdphe.state.co.us for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Select Medical Marijuana and then click on Forms. I will be referring to the application, physician certification and the information sheet to clarify the process. Please explore this site for more information and additional regulations.
   Becoming a carded medical marijuana patient is a privilege for Colorado residents. The chart at the bottom of the instruction sheet outlines all of your options to establish ...
Colorado Residency
   The web site for medical marijuana in Colorado is fairly comprehensive. Go to www.cdphe.state.co.us for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Select Medical Marijuana and then click on Forms. I will be referring to the application, physician certification and the information sheet to clarify the process. Please explore this site for more information and additional regulations.
   Becoming a carded medical marijuana patient is a privilege for Colorado residents. The chart at the bottom of the instruction sheet outlines all of your options to establish residency. Residency is most easily established with a permanent or temporary Colorado driver’s license or ID. Additionally this ID must not be damaged with cracks or your dog’s teeth marks. A trip to the DMV with a good book should be considered.
   If you have recently moved here, and have not yet applied for one of these, you may submit your out of state license, passport, military or tribal ID with at least one of the following: a utility, cable or medical/ insurance bill addressed to you at a Colorado residence. Proof of employment in Colorado such as a W-2 or paycheck stub is another proof of residency.

Choosing a Doctor
   The second question is usually “how much does it cost?” Personally, I think the second question should be about the doctor. The physician must hold a valid unrestricted license to practice medicine in Colorado. They must also have a valid and unrestricted US Department of Justice Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) controlled substances registration. This information must be on file with the CDPHE. Patient applications have been rejected because the doctor was not in compliance with SB109.
   Know your doctor’s credentials. Is the doctor able to help you with your particular medical condition or have they just been injecting Botox on the weekend for the last thirty years. Nearly 800,000 Coloradans are uninsured and have been marginalized from medical care. This may be the only physician they will have access to in years. The doctor must be available for follow-up visits. Ask if you will be charged for these.
   I encourage callers to ask their own primary care physician to write the recommendation. Unfortunately, many are prevented from doing so because of regulations of the clinic or hospital where they practice. Others simply don’t know how to provide a physician certification. Take the above referenced three forms to your next appointment to inform your doctor on the process.
   Some patients are more comfortable with a doctor who specializes in cannabis medicine. These doctors have researched the efficacy of cannabis treatments and understand its effectiveness for various conditions. YOU MAY NOT VISIT A DOCTOR INSIDE A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CENTER.

Eligibility and Medical Records
   Medical records are an important reference for doctors to provide the best care. Any medical condition defined as severe, chronic and debilitating could be an indication of a serious problem requiring immediate medical attention. Some medical conditions are readily diagnosable without records or imaging. The talent of the physician you select will prevail. Reference the Physician Certification form for the approved list of conditions.
   Initially, doctors were willing to compromise their good medical training to focus on the money/ numbers game. Now SB109 has grounded doctors back to adhering to the Medical Practices Act they all know. Support the efforts of these great doctors that are inspired by the real medical help they are recommending. Beware of physician referral operations that charge less for records or more for higher plant counts….absurd!There is no such thing as an edible license. Patient referrals are a better option. People are eager to recommend a great doctor and experience.

Scheduling an Appointment
   An evaluation may range between $90 and $200.00. Does the price include a notary service and guarantee a complete preparation of the paperwork to successfully submit the application? If the notary or doctor proves to be unqualified or makes an error, will the office provide you with an alternative free of charge? Are follow-ups free?
   Do they accept walk-ins? Walk-ins and over scheduling may result in long waiting times, which is inappropriate for severely ill patients.

Submitting your Application
   The application must be legible and free of errors, white out, cross-outs or write-overs. Check your paperwork carefully. Don’t abbreviate any part of your address or phone number. For example don’t substitute Jeffco for Jefferson County or use shortcuts like 7/ XXX-XXXX. Is that a 720 or 719 area code? Your email is optional and very difficult to fit in the small space provided. Your date and the notary’s must match. The physician date must be the same or precede the application date. Hopefully, the notary who has the final look at your paperwork will catch any mistakes.
   The application fee each year is $90.00. This can be a personal check (not temporary) or money order made payable to the CDPHE. This fee will be waived if you receive SSI or food stamps. Include a copy of proof of your most recent benefit. Send only one application via certified mail. Keep the postmarked certified mail receipt with the temporary license you should receive at your doctor’s visit.The registry must receive your completed application with in 60 days of the date of your physician certification. Renewals must be submitted no sooner than 60 days of expiration. This requires an updated physician recommendation and new application. You will receive your registry card in two to three weeks.

   Let’s all focus on good medicine. We are witnessing effective cannabis therapy for patients who would otherwise be subjected to harmful pharmaceutical alternatives. The extraordinary benefits to these patients are too compelling to turn away from the much needed research that will lift cannabis out of the dark corner of medical history it has been relegated to for almost a century. At the end of the day, good medicine and scientific research will escort cannabis to legalization. In time this powerful plant will realize it’s own destiny among many great plant based medicines.

   Dr. Alan Shackelford is a graduate of the University of Heidelberg School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency and clinical and research Fellowships in nutritional medicine and behavioral medicine at two of the major teaching hospitals of the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shackelford is qualified to address all of your medical concerns.

For more information please visit www.Amarimed.com or call Joyce at 720-532-4744

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