Medical marijuana prescription: The Releaf Center offers a cure for patients with caregiver complaints

As we wrote about in last week's cover story and sidebar, CannaMed and several other medical marijuana doctors clinics are selling patient information to dispensaries and grow facilities who need patients to cover the pot they have on hand. Some of the patients involved say that's left them with caregivers who don't provide them with much, if any, medical marijuana and services.

Apparently such complaints are so common that at least one dispensary, the Releaf Center, 2000 West 32nd Avenue, has launched a program designed to encourage folks to ditch their shoddy caregivers altogether.

"Don't like your caregiver? We'll make you your own and give you a clone," reads the Releaf Center's new slogan, unveiled a couple weeks ago. And the program runs exactly as it sounds: Stop by the shop and fill out a state change-of-caregiver form (leaving the caregiver field blank), and the Releaf Center will provide an envelope and stamp to send to the state and, better yet, hand over a complementary pot clone.

The effort evolved out of Releaf Center employees hearing lots of caregiver horror stories from patients stopping by, says Matt, the dispensary's owner. He notes that they usually hear at least one new complaint a day. Some are from patients who went to medical-marijuana doctors clinics like CannaMed, while others are from folks who simply signed up a friend of a friend as their caregiver in exchange for help getting their medical marijuana license.

"There's been a lot of heartache and confusion out there," says Matt.

Of course, no one has to go to a place like the Releaf Center to change caregivers; as Matt concedes, "The fact is, you can change caregivers at any time."

The Releaf Center doesn't have a doctor on site, but like many dispensaries it offers incentives for those who designate someone at the operation as their caregiver. It's also launching a new advertising campaign to spread the word about its new caregiver-dumping program. Considering how many patients have reported these sort of complaints, other dispensaries may soon jump on the bandwagon, too.