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By Ken Quintanilla for KUAM News
"This week Public Health announced that prior to receiving an actual permit to operate, all applicants for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and laboratory services must first begin the process of certification from the Patient Focused Certification, a service offered by Americans for Safe Access."
Interest is high for the medical marijuana program at the Department of Public Health as within just a week from when they started accepting applications more than 200 people have come forward. It's been in the works for years so it's no surprise that the medical cannabis program at Public Health has drawn interest from numerous residents of our island community.
"So total was just picking up information was 75 (people) and cannabis license of various kinds was 73 and patient registry ID is 68, and that was only for four days ending of the 23rd," said Public Health director James Gillan.
Just last week, Public Health started accepting applications for medical cannabis licenses. Gillan says just as interest grows, so does his concern over safety in carrying out the law, one he calls "seriously flawed." In order to learn more about the process, he attended last weekend's Grassroots Guam workshop for patients. "The presentation from the person from Gobi Labs, who has a lot of experience in this, really kind of woke up me to the dangers of distilling down cannabis to other usable products. And what can happen, so the safety concern was really a big issue."
In order to address this concern, Gillan made contact with the off-island Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting Group in attendance to help with certification of all medicinal marijuana operations. This week Public Health announced that prior to receiving an actual permit to operate, all applicants for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and laboratory services must first begin the process of certification from the Patient Focused Certification, a service offered by Americans for Safe Access.
"So we felt it was good on our part, because there's nothing in the law that says we can't do this and we're not obligated in any way so we don't' have to do any procurement stuff," he shared. "But what we're saying is people who are applying for licenses and permits, we encourage you highly to get a certification from the patient focused folks."
According to its website, PFC is what patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, companies, and regulators can depend on to identify reliable, high-quality medical cannabis products and services. He also recommends physicians get involved.
"We have had physicians who have expressed privately that they're interested in using cannabis as an alternative to opiates and other substances," he said.
Gillan adds no one has submitted a completed application for the medical cannabis program yet. For applicants looking to begin the process of certification, visit http://wwww.patientfocusedcertification.org.