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6/20/2013 6:01:00 AM
'Our patients are very diverse'
Marijuana dispensary quietly opens Kingman location
Bud Tender Natisha Lopez talks to patient Don Burt Jr. Tuesday at Kingman Green Medical Dispensary, which quietly opened its doors recently.
Bud Tender Natisha Lopez talks to patient Don Burt Jr. Tuesday at Kingman Green Medical Dispensary, which quietly opened its doors recently.
Medical marijuana is sold in many forms, including in bottles similar to what pharmacists use.
Medical marijuana is sold in many forms, including in bottles similar to what pharmacists use.

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The Kingman Green Medical Dispensary quietly opened without fanfare a few weeks ago and the former chiropractor's office on Northern Avenue became an immediate destination for scores of valid medical marijuana cardholders who live in the region.

Beginning in early July, those cardholders who find it difficult to get around can take advantage of a home delivery service.

According to Manager Joel Williams, it is too early to estimate how many of the dispensary's patients fall into this category, but many of them are confined to wheelchairs or are otherwise relatively immobile, he said.

Older Patients

Contrary to public perception, between 75 and 80 percent of Kingman Green's medical marijuana patients are on the north side of 50.

A significant number of them, said Williams, have been forced to stop taking pharmaceuticals because of organ damage caused by long-term use.

They have turned to medical marijuana to treat their symptoms and, according to Williams, they find the dispensary a blessing.

"Medical marijuana literally saves their lives," said Williams. "They can come here where it's safe and private."

Williams said the older demographic for medical marijuana patients in Mohave County reflects the county's population as a whole.

"I think the fact there are a lot of retired people here pushes that average up, compared to say, Phoenix," said Williams.

All Walks of Life

Age and the fact they all have a card is where the similarities end, said Williams.

"Our patients are very diverse," he said. "We've got people in law enforcement, teachers, attorneys. We even have one guy who's (a member of the clergy). Blue collar, white collar, and a lot of retired folks."

Williams was semi-retired himself when his attorney recommended he get into Arizona's medical marijuana services.

"I was against it at the time voters approved medical marijuana," he said. Williams said he hasn't smoked marijuana in more than 35 years and was skeptical of its touted benefits.

"At first, I was attracted because it was an intriguing business to start with, but then it grew into the whole concept of helping people once I saw the legitimacy of the medicine," said Williams.

Williams manages dispensaries in Lake Havasu City, Ft. Mohave, Parker and Yuma along with Kingman Green. He also owns Herbal Remedies, a service that helps people obtain their medical marijuana card.

"I call it the Green Consortium," he said. "People who come in or we deliver to can choose a strain from any dispensary."

The Process

There's more to it than simply wanting to get high so you feel better, according to Williams, who estimates he's helped about 1,500 Arizonans obtain their card since the state implemented the law 18 months ago.

"You don't need a prescription from a doctor," said Williams, "but we do need your medical records that provide a diagnosis that qualifies for a card under state law."

Qualifying conditions include cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, seizures, chronic pain, nausea and glaucoma.

Prospective cardholders must provide their medical records and meet with a doctor under contract with Herbal Remedies, and that doctor has to corroborate the patient meets the criteria.

It costs $150 for the card, which must be renewed annually. Williams charges an additional $138 for issuing the card and for the physician checkup.

Different Weeds, Different Needs

The marijuana that's for sale can be purchased by the gram or in edible form. The minimum cost for one ounce of marijuana is $160, said Williams, but there is no requirement to buy that much.

"That you have to buy a minimum of one ounce is another misperception about this business," he said. "You can even buy a pre-rolled cone."

A cone is a marijuana cigarette.

There are more strains of marijuana available than there are ways to ingest it, and Williams said the wide selection is necessary because patients with different conditions desire different results.

There are two major strains of marijuana, said Williams: Indica and sativa. Indica helps with pain, anxiety and insomnia, he said, while sativa helps manage pain and provide energy.

"I guess you could say indica is a downer and sativa is an upper," said Williams.

Out of these two strains derive hundreds of substrains, said Williams, and each of them has a specific effect on patients.

Employees called "bud tenders" are marijuana experts able to advise patients on what strain would best address their specific issues.

"That's another benefit," said Williams. "On the street you never know what you're getting, but here we can help you pinpoint what would help you the most."

The marijuana sold by the dispensaries is tested by a company called Med Labs in Phoenix. The firm tests the tetrahydrocannabinol content, commonly referred to as THC, in the buds and also looks for pesticides.

People who don't want to smoke medical marijuana can buy it in edible form, including brownies, cookies, lollipops, hot sauce and salad dressing. Williams said there is a marijuana-based skin cream available as well as tinctures.

"They can come in knowing nobody gets into the dispensary if they don't have a card," said Williams. "They get a private consultation with a trained bud tender and they are safe and secure. That's a huge benefit."

For more information on the medical marijuana program or to make an appointment, call Kingman Green at (928) 692-0000.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Article comment by: Big Frog

Give me a little for my cataracts. )

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013
Article comment by: desert dweller

These are the same people raising cane about smoking cigarettes! Marijuana screws up the head, causes major memory loss etc...I worked with pot heads in a jail a number of years don't want to be one!

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