CannaMed owner David Mazin came up with the idea of having his medical marijuana evaluation clinics sell patients to dispensaries and pot growers a year ago. Since then, he claims, several other outfits have adopted the same process. To find out which ones, Westword called many of the local medical marijuana evaluation companies in the guise of a caregiver and asked, "Do you sell patients?" Here's what we heard.
Amarimed, Denver: "No, never."
Canna Health, Aurora: "Yes, we do. It costs $215 per patient." In a follow-up conversation, a Canna Health representative said the company worked only once with a caregiver, who paid $125 per patient.
Herbal Health Systems, various locations: "No, we do not."
GreenDocs, Denver: A manager said that would-be caregivers pay between $200 and $300 per patient into a financial-assistance fund. Caregivers usually "sponsor a day" at the clinic, he explained, meeting with the patients who come in that day to see if they want to make the sponsor their assigned caregiver.
Denver Longevity Clinic, Denver: "I sell patients for $100 a patient," said the owner, who noted that he sells between four and 125 patients at a time and requires that caregivers meet with each patient.
Happy Clinic Denver, Denver: "No, we are just a medical clinic. We don't involve ourselves in any of that."
Health Star Medical Evaluation Clinic, Denver: "No, we don't."
Green Ribbon Clinic, Denver: While they don't sell patients, an employee said, caregivers get 10 percent cash back for every five patients they send to the clinic.
THC Foundation, Denver: "No, we actually don't."
Medical Marijuana Doctors, Denver: "We are a doctor's office. That's all kept private."
Relaxed Clarity, Broomfield: People can buy a ten-pack of prepaid doctors-visit vouchers for $1,000, saving $300 on the regular price for ten visits, an employee said. People then give these vouchers to patients who've agreed to make them their caregiver. The employee said he knows of individuals who find patients for caregivers for a fee: "They just mine them off Craigslist and connect the dots."
Sunshine Wellness Center, Colorado Springs: "No, sir. There is no slave trade going on here."
Green Door Wellness Center/Green Medical Referrals, various locations: "For sure! We sold like 500 today!" said founder Chuck McGinness, who gave his fee as "$171 a head," though that price drops to $50 to $80 each for caregivers who buy blocks of 100, 250 or 500 patients. McGinness added proudly that "I'm a caregiver for 2,800 people," a number he's constantly augmenting from those who visit his clinics. "I add 100 patients each week for myself like clockwork," he concluded. A representative of Green Medical Referrals and Green Door Wellness later disputed McGinness's statements, saying, "The owner was ill and medicated, and we do not sell our patients."