BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) -- Patients hoping for relief through medicinal marijuana found some guidance Saturday in Saline County.
A company created for patients who want medical marijuana evaluations, Medicinal Purpose, hosted a clinic Saturday.
Dr. Ivy McGee, who was over the evaluations, described the event as pleasantly surprising. She said considering the conservative nature of Arkansas, she expected a low turnout but got the opposite. Patients lined up outside the Holiday Inn Express in Benton as early as 8 a.m.
"I've seen patients bring medical records regarding cancer, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C and peripheral neuropathy,” said Dr. McGee.
Are you living with an illness you no longer feel can be managed the traditional way?
"I've been dealing with a lot of hiatal hernia pain and nausea from birth,” James McSorley said.
Arkansas doctors can now provide alternative treatments for patients suffering from diagnosis cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health.
“Every doctor has a right to practice in a way they feel abides by their conscious and training. And that is the very reason I'm choosing to do so,” added Dr. McGee.
She and Medicinal Purpose hope to help patients improve their quality of life.
“She was really professional and I liked her. She was on topic as far diagnosis and what it covered as far as qualifying,” said McSorley, one of many patients who showed up hopeful for good news today.
He wants to stop taking pain medications and pharmaceuticals all together, as he suffers from chronic nausea and dehydration.
“It keeps me away from work and kept me away from school,” he said.
The next step for patients in pursuit of medical marijuana, like McSorley, is to turn in a two-page application to the Arkansas Department of Health, who will then be responsible for issuing official cards.
“It makes me feel really good, I just wish it were sooner,” said McSorley.
Verified names will also be added to a state registry.
“If you are suffering, there are alternatives and you don't have to feel guilty in pursuing that because voters in the state of Arkansas have agreed that this is a legal option for therapy,” said Dr. McGee.
Medicinal Purpose will host another clinic two weeks from today, same time same place with Dr. McGee from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., or until all patients have been seen. You'll need your I-D, medical records and the $150.00 evaluation fee.
Once a doctor like McGee signs you off, you still need $50 to get a medical marijuana card.