Last month a Montana judge blocked the implementation of a law that would have prevented doctors from recommending marijuana online, over the phone, and at traveling one-day clinics; discouraged Montana doctors from recommending marijuana to more than 25 patients per year; and limited marijuana sellers to being the primary care provider for only three patients at a time.
Now Montana marijuana providers are attempting to shore up their business practices in case the legislature finds another way to screw them. That is, if they don't screw themselves first. Here's a description of the clinics run by one Jason Christ, courtesy of the Missoulian:
Jason Christ, the Missoula medical marijuana entrepreneur who staged the roaming "cannabis caravans" that signed up hundreds of patients at a time, announced last week he's reviving his online "Teleclinics."
"We are seeing patients for their mmj cards by the hundreds," brags the website for CarePlus+, the new name for Christ's business that gained notoriety as the Montana Caregivers Network and, later, CannabisCare.
Christ's email announcing the service touted "visits on your computer with a Montana-licensed physician," as well as in-person visits "with our travelling doctors."
And here's one of Christ's competitors, bitching about his loosey-goosey business practices:
Another business, The Healing Center, offers clinics in Bozeman on July 25-26 and in Butte on July 27.
"Walk-ins welcome," says the website, which lists a series of one-day clinics in Montana, Arizona and Alaska. "All patients will qualify (as per state law)."
Mike Smith, executive director of The Healing Center, said about 40 to 50 people are seen at each of the clinics in a business model he plans to take nationwide. He bristled at any comparison to Christ's caravans.
"We do not do it like Jason Christ," he said. "We see every patient, one at a time, in a doctor's office."
Yes, there's a difference between recommending pot to "hundreds" of patients, versus only "40 to 50" patients. And yes, there's a difference between seeing every patient "one at a time, in a doctor's office," and seeing them (presumably one at a time) on Skype, which is where Christ's doctors do a lot of their consultations. But just how significant is that difference when what the Montana legislature wants is proof of "a bona fide legitimate patient relationship"? Are Smith's two- and one-day clinics more bona fide than Christ's two- and one-day clinics because they do not have wheels underneath them? Smith and providers like him see a big difference:
"The damn Teleclinics," Smith called them. "He's already pissing people off."
Dr. John Stowers, a plaintiff in the suit filed against the new law, dashed off a furious email in response after Christ announced CarePlus+.
"So here we go again! You stupid arrogant (expletive)," Stowers wrote. "Haven't you figured out that you created the majority of the problems in the first place. … I have no doubt the Medical Board will not be so complacent with you and your whore doctors this time around."
Speaking of whore doctors! Think of all the drugs they dole out like candied blow jobs to their troubled patients: Sleep aids, pain killers, appetite suppressants, amphetamines, growth hormones, muscle relaxers, anti-psychotics, etc. How many patients have received a prescription (or a renewal) for any of the above in less than 20 minutes from a doctor who cannot properly pronounce his or her name and/or remember it without looking at their chart? Lots of us, and I bet the number is growing.
The significant difference between a doctor who prescribes liver-destroying pain meds to cancer patients or suicide-inducing anti-depressants to teenagers, and one of Christ's doctors, is not so much bona fide as legality and, according to Stowers and Smith, tact: People who supply drugs must appear reluctant and pious; people who use drugs must appear reluctant and ashamed; and the medical pot business must embody this paradigm. Everybody has to pretend not to want it. This is the key to being a goverment-approved drug dealer in America.
Christ making it easier for people in Montana to buy his weed may be great for the sick, and for Christ, but it is at odds with the lie that binds the larger medical community.