New medical marijuana clinic coming

November 09, 2007

K. Kaufmann, Desert Sun (CA)

Riverside County is about to get a new clinic for medical marijuana patients. And Lanny Swerdlow, president of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, is going to be running it.

Swerdlow, also a registered nurse, announced he will be opening the clinic, to be called THCF Medical Clinic, at 647 N. Main St., Riverside. The clinic should be open by early December, he said.

THCF stands for The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a nonprofit that runs similar clinics in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. The clinics issue letters of recommendation to patients. They do not sell marijuana.

The Riverside location "is right in the heart of the Inland Empire; nobody's more than 30 minutes away from clinic," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said he decided not to open the clinic in the Coachella Valley because the area already has at least one other doctor, Dr. Joseph Durante of Rancho Mirage, writing letters of recommendation.

Ryan Michaels, a medical marijuana patient in Riverside, said most people seeking letters in the Inland Empire now go to Los Angeles or the desert.

"I had to go to Hollywood," Michaels said. "I was looking for someone who would be in accord with the law. I didn't want a fly-by-night."

California law allows medical use of marijuana for patients who have a doctor's letter of recommendation. Federal law bans all use of the drug.

Swerdlow said the Riverside clinic may require patients to submit medical records even before making an appointment.

He did not release the names of the doctors who may work at the clinic, but said all patients will receive a physical examination.

Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, said as long as the clinic follows state law, it should have no problems.

"I don't want to put our seal of approval on it," Wyatt said. "(But) as long as a medical doctor is making the recommendation and there's no dispensing, it falls within the confines of the law."



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