Doctor Helps Alaska Residents Get Medical Marijuana Cards
The Healing Clinic causes controversy
ANCHORAGE – A man who has started a business helping Alaska residents get medical marijuana cards says he’s had no problems getting clients.
Mike Smith is the man behind The Healing Clinic.
Based in Washington State, Smith has been traveling to Alaska with a doctor who is licensed to practice in the state. For a fee of $225 he will provide an exam to people who want medical marijuana cards.
What Smith is doing appears to be legal, but he has faced criticism. Some say he is opportunist just out to make money. Smith has had similar businesses in three other states and claims he has helped over 4,000 people get medical marijuana cards in the last three years.
Others say the “exam” his doctor provides is questionable, and that not everyone has the documentation of pain or medical illness they need to get a card – Smith denies that.
“You can’t just come in and say my back hurts and get a card, that will not happen,“ says Smith. “We pre-screen every single patient and they will not meet with the doctor unless they have the required conditions as per Alaska state law. “
The state has several categories that can qualify people for the cards and applications must be approved by the state. But the state is the first to admit they don’t do more than check to make sure the proper paperwork has been filed and that the doctor making the recommendation is licensed to practice in the state. They also say they can’t tell people seeking cards which doctors have recommended them for patients in the past. That may be a boom for Smith, who can advertise all he wants.
The man in charge of the state’s registry says they have gotten a surge of applications for the cards following Smith’s clinics, and that almost all of them have been approved. Smith says he has seen at least 400 Alaskans since he started bringing clinics here and plans to continue them on a monthly basis.