Physician warns about fee for medical marijuana qualification appointments

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Right now, thousands of you are sounding off on our ABC Action News Facebook page about whether recreational marijuana should be legalized in Florida in addition to medical marijuana.

Ten times as many of you answered "Yes" to our poll than those who answered "No."

You may not realize, some physicians prescribing medical marijuana are at urgent care clinics.

“Several hundred phone calls and we’ve done around 15 pre-qualifications this week alone,” Stephanie Gregor, practice adminstrator, AFC Pinellas Park, said.

The AFC Urgent Care in Pinellas Park is buzzing, now with two physicians who can legally prescribe medical marijuana. They're the first AFC clinic in the country to get on board, and they say, you may not know other doctors offices can charge you to get qualified for a medical marijuana script.

RELATED: Department of Health warns Floridians about Medical Marijuana Scams

“They’re going to charge you for that appointment, regardless of whether you qualify or not, we won’t, we charge you once we know that you have gone through the pre-qualification process and that you could apply for the medical marijuana,” Gregor said.

She said, elsewhere, a pre-qualification appointment can run up to $300.

“I’m sure some physicians who have no experience with medical marijuana are getting on the bandwagon and they will attempt to abuse the system,” Dr. Louis Frosch, family physican at AFC Pinellas Park, said.

This is all pretty new, but standard protocol is that you have to be a patient with the prescribing doctor for 90 days before you can get a medical marijuana prescription. There are no rules about charging for appointments, so Dr. Frosch said you need to research who you see and ask the right questions.

“How are you qualified to prescribe medical marijuana? And some physicians are going to have trouble answering that question,” Dr. Frosch said.

AFC Pinellas Park said they'll even help you apply for a medical marijuana card. And in true urgent care form, you don't need an appointment to come in.

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