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California Marijuana Doctors See Spike in Business


With the passing of Proposition 64 in California, legalizing recreational cannabis, industry doctors are seeing a big spike in business. Some potential new patients aren’t even making appointments as some certification centers offer walk-in appointments.  Even though cannabis is now legal in California, there’s nowhere to buy it just yet.

Expected Retail Store Licensing

California officials estimate that the licensing process will begin sometime in the middle of 2017. Regulations and processes have yet to be put in place and made official. Local governments must also setup their regulations for retail cannabis shops.

There is, however, the potential for the licensing to be delayed as far as January 1, 2018 if creating regulations takes longer than expected.

Getting in for a Medical Cannabis Evaluation

One certification center, 420 Med Evaluations, employee Jill Beaver said, “It’s been a crazy spike. Normally, this is the slow season for us. But we’re averaging 50 to 60 patients a week.”

What this means is, it’s really better if you make an appointment to prevent waiting all day as those with appointments are helped first. It is also ideal to bring your medical records with you as it will speed up the process some.

California has had a medical cannabis law in place since 1996. Doctors were hesitant to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis for patients due to the federal status of cannabis. Some physicians saw it as being an “indirect weed connection” rather than prescribing an alternative approach to treating a debilitating condition.

Why Medical Cannabis is the Answer Right Now in California

You won’t have anywhere to purchase recreational cannabis in California until early 2018, at least as it stands now. It takes just about a year to put regulations in place. Then it takes several more months to award licensing and conduct facility inspections. On top of that, there are several more months before a recreational cannabis shop can open, as it requires time to grow product and have it tested to meet California’s requirements.

That being said, if you have a qualifying condition in California and want to use cannabis, you’ve got to go the medical cannabis route, at least until early 2018. Doctors are able to make suggestions and help answer questions for those that have never used cannabis.

Certification Centers to Rebrand

Proposition 64’s passing has created a bit of buzz surrounding the future of medical cannabis in California and the ability for recommending doctors to keep their doors open. What some establishments plan to do is rebrand and become a holistic wellness center rather than just a medical cannabis certification location. This will allow these establishments to offer services such as chiropractic care, acupuncture and other holistic/alternative approaches to medicine.

A Couple Closing Thoughts

If you are a medical cannabis holder in California, or plan to become one, you can avoid paying the 15-percent excise tax on recreational cannabis purchases. Only those in possession of a medical cannabis card are exempt from paying these taxes. Some doctors may still not participate in recommending medical cannabis for patients but are expected to offer more referrals as cannabis is becoming a more widely accepted form of treating debilitating, chronic/terminal illnesses.

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