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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan, Framingham, Mass.) - Renee Nunez takes hundreds of calls a day, potential patients hoping to book an appointment with the Framingham doctor's office she plans to open on Wednesday.
The office owned by a California-based company called CannaMed. the physicians who will work at the office specialize in writing patient recommendations for medical marijuana, which is now legal in Massachusetts. Nunez says they are booked solid through the end of February.
"People have been calling since November," Nunez said Tuesday.
CannaMed physicians don't diagnose illnesses, they base their recommendations off of pre-existing conditions. If they approve a patient for medical marijuana use they write a recommendation and charge $199. "It allows you to posses, to cultivate for your own supply, and allows you access to treatment centers and dispensaries when they do open," said Nunez.
The written recommendation from a doctor does allow a patient to grow or get marijuana on their own and legally possess it, but, as the Department of Public Health comes up with regulations, there is no where in Massachusetts to legally buy pot in any form.
It is a gray area Natick's police chief calls another "quirk" in the new law. "We are telling our officers to react as they would with someone who has illegal marijuana and we will deal with it, maybe not make an arrest, but we will take down their information," said Chief James Hicks.
CannaMed was forced out of their lease at another Framingham office building because other tenants were wary of their business. But Nunez said medical marijuana is now firmly rooted in the Bay State. "There are always going to be people against it, but we are here to serve the people who are begging for help with alternative medicine."
CannaMed does not sell marijuana or even direct patients to where they could get it. They also don't do background checks. An individual with a prior conviction for distributing marijuana would not necessarily be ruled out.