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New company in Jacksonville aims to get medical marijuana to patients faster

by: Kevin Clark, Action News Jax Updated:

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Guadalupe Osteen said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder years ago, and said the medication prescribed to help her has made her feel worse.

“Knowing you have to wake up and not be normal, and you have to depend on a medication to live your life,” Osteen said. “You can’t just get up and go. It gets depressing.”

She wanted to know if she’d be eligible for medical marijuana under the state’s new law.

Osteen soon learned about Liberate Physician Center through Facebook.

“They made me feel welcome,” she said. “They were very professional, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Liberate has seen about 15 local patients since it opened its doors in Mandarin last month.

Liberate's Melissa Blake said a patient can come in for a consultation, which is a medical review to see if they have an eligible condition.

Qualifying medical conditions include cancer, epilepsy, HIV and PTSD.


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“Once we have received all of their records, then we are going to review all of them,” said Blake, managing director of the company in Jacksonville. “The doctor is going to review them.”

The company says the cost of the first visit is $169.

A follow-up visit may include a physical exam with a doctor who is on the state’s qualified list to treat patients using medical marijuana.

Amendment 2 was passed by voters in November, making medical marijuana legal in Florida.

However, Florida’s leaders are still working on the final rules for implementation. The amendment left most of the details up to the state Legislature and state health department.

Under the new law, doctors must treat patients for at least three months before entering orders for marijuana treatment.

One of Liberate’s main goals is to get a jump start on this doctor-patient relationship.

“Once the rules are actually out, we figure there’s going to be a mass frenzy of everybody just trying to get into different doctor’s offices,” Blake said.

This way, Blake said patients with debilitating illnesses can have access to treatment the day the rules are set.


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