Southern AZ's 1st medical pot dispensary open and serving - Tucson News Now

Southern AZ's 1st medical pot dispensary open and serving customers

Southern Arizona's first medical marijuana dispensary is now open and serving customers, after two years of licensing and inspection procedures.

Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies, at Broadway and Kolb, opened at 10 a.m. with a security guard standing at the door.

You can't just simply walk in. You have to have an appointment, but Tucson News Now spoke to some patients outside about what this resource means to them.

Patient George Chrzen showed his marijuana prescription, after his appointment at Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies.

"I've never felt really comfortable buying street drugs both because of quality and cost," Chrzen said.

Chrzen is a retired pharmaceutical representative seeking pain management minus the side effects.

A patient that did not want to give his name, who is a Marine Corp. veteran that suffers from arthritis, said, "The side effect profile I think is a lot cleaner than most conventional pharmaceutical drugs. If you look at the list ever, you know they're reading it on TV and it takes ten minutes...They've given me morphine and demoral for arthritis pain and all it does is turn me into a zombie."

He says this dispensary eliminates the consequences of finding relief illegally.

"Even a small amount can cost you $500-600 for a little joint, or depending on who you are you can go to jail."

Now that it's legal, most visitors hope medical pot will be more widely accepted.

"A lot of patients I know in hospitals, a friend of mine, cancer patients and whatnot, that would certainly benefit from it and the stigma still prevents them from either researching it more or getting it."

Because of the stigma attached to medical pot, a lot of people Tucson News Now spoke to today did not want to go on-camera, fearing their employers or family members will see this report.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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