Updated: Monday, 15 Feb 2010, 6:27 PM EST
Published : Monday, 15 Feb 2010, 6:46 AM EST
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) -- The doors opened Monday at West Michigan's first full-time medical marijuana clinic.
The Michigan Holistic Health Center opened at 500 W. Crosstown Parkway and will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For many patients, it eliminates one more hurdle in the search for medical marijuana.
Patients need a doctor's approval before they can apply for a state permit to use medical marijuana. But many physicians are reluctant to give permission, and some medical groups have policies against it.
At the Holistic Health Center, Dr. David Crocker will charge $200 for a consultation and exam. Patients will be asked to provide medical records and fill out a medical-history questionaire.
There are full-time medical marijuana clinics in Jackson, Farmington Hills and Southfield, but this is the first in West Michigan.
In Stanton, northeast of Greenville, a one-day-a-week clinic opened a month ago at the Mid-Michigan Mid-Michigan Compassion Club -- in an old, renovated bait shop.
Dr. Dean Ruble, of Greenville, told 24 Hour News 8 the clinic charges $200 for a consultation and has seen 15 to 20 patients every Wednesday.
Michigan's medical-marijuana law was passed by voters in 2008 and went into effect in April 2009.
It allows registered patients to grow up to 12 plants -- or to pay a care-giver to provide that service.
By mid-afternoon, the clinic had seen more than 20 patients, while phones were ringing constantly, said office co-manager Cathy Moorhead.
"We're here to serve the community; we're here to serve patients; we're here to relieve suffering and bring peace into people's lives," Dr. Crocker told 24 Hour News 8. "I know that there's some resistance to this movement. We're not here to put this up in anybody's face; we're here to help patients."
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