More Alaskans are turning to medical marijuana and the state’s medical marijuana registry has grown significantly in the past year.
Larry Yingling, says he uses medical marijuana to relieve the lingering pain from a broken neck, fractured spine, and other injuries he received during army training more than five years ago. He obtained his medical marijuana card after receiving a recommendation from a physician through The Healing Center Medical Clinic in Anchorage.
“I was like, that’s me. Because I always wanted one. And I knew it was right, morally,” said Yingling.
The clinic opened last year and provides patients with a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana, which patients must present to the state for approval. During its first year in Alaska, the state’s medical marijuana registry saw a 230 percent increase. In 2009, the state processed 56 medical marijuana applications, according to Phillip Mitchell, section chief for vitals statistics in Alaska. In 2011, 273 cards were issued. More than 900 cards were issued in 2012, said Mitchell, the same year The Healing Center Medical Clinic opened its doors. As of January 2013, the state’s medical marijuana registry is approaching 1,500 people.
Under state law, a patient with a medical marijuana card can legally possess one ounce of marijuana or grow up to six plants as long as no more than three of the plants are flowering. Buying and selling marijuana is illegal, so patients must grow it themselves or rely on a cannibis caregiver.
“You can’t buy it, but you can give it,” said Yingling. “I’d love to see dispensaries up here.”
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