Dispensaries prepare to open after medical cannabis program begins

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – With a medical cannabis program in place, and dispensaries preparing to open.

Healthcare providers and potential patients are now focusing on the process of obtaining medicinal cannabis cards.

WCBI talked to the only physician in the Golden Triangle who can currently certify patients.

After a popular statewide referendum was struck down in court, Mississippians lobbied hard to get the legislature to approve medical marijuana.

Now that a program is in place and dispensaries and grow operations are being licensed, potential patients are wondering when and *how* they are going to be able to get clinical cannabis.

One thing is sure, it’s not going to be as easy as some may think.

Healthcare professionals say that it shouldn’t be people’s first option.

“I think it’s very important to recognize that this medical cannabis program should be viewed as a secondary treatment, this is not primary treatment for any of the medical conditions so if any patient has acute or chronic wellness condition I encourage them to seek care from a health care professional and have that treated with them first and foremost,” said Dr. Jack Walters, M.D. Columbus Orthopaedic.

Jack Walters is a physician with Columbus Orthopaedic. As of now, he’s the only certifying physician in the Golden Triangle area.

He said that everyone isn’t going to be able to get certified for a medicinal cannabis card, especially if they don’t have any serious conditions.

“It does include cancer, cancer-related pains, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, chrones, and chronic pain that has been not been responded to traditional treatments, but there is an entire list that I encourage patients to look at on the Mississippi Department of Health website,” said Walters.

And if you meet any of those conditions.

“In person’s face-to-face interview with the patient at that time we will talk to the patient, take a good history and physical do a physical exam and potentially a medical records review and at that time we will be able to certify if a patient does or does not have one of the qualifying medical conditions and if they do then we can help them get signed up on the health department website,” said Walters.

Dr. Walters said he would then have to input that information into the state’s website and then a card will be issued to the patient.

Patients will present their card at the dispensary but they will have to use cash because insurance won’t pay for medical cannabis.

Walters said that Pause Pain and Wellness will have a certifying physician next in our area and Starkville has a couple of dispensaries.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Categories: Featured, Local News