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Bossier’s first medical marijuana clinic opens

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Bossier City’s first medical marijuana clinic opened Monday, leaving residents with mixed emotions.

Dr. Chad Rossitter, a Shreveport native and practicing internal medicine doctor in Acadiana, decided to open the clinic in Bossier after becoming interested in the beneficial and helpful aspects of marijuana prescriptions due to his work and due to his family.

“I wanted to open the clinic in Shreveport Bossier for two reasons:  First, I am originally from Shreveport, so coming back to northwest Louisiana was important to me. And two, there are so many people suffering from these debilitating conditions and I want to be the first one to be able to finally provide relief that isn’t opioid based,” said Dr. Rossitter.

“I’ve lost a very close family member to the opioid epidemic and I am willing to do anything to be part of the solution that prevents any other family from having to go through what my family did,” he added.

Patients will undergo an exam and must provide medical records to support their illnesses before Rossitter decides whether they meet the conditions for a medical marijuana recommendation.

The medicine is sold as pills, dissolved in a liquid base, or as a spray.

Dr. Chad and Isabella Rossiter

The clinic will charge flat fees for initial and follow up visits for patients. Patients generally must pay out of pocket for medical marijuana office visits and to receive marijuana-based remedies because insurance doesn’t cover it.

Since the news broke that a medical clinic would be providing marijuana to patients, Bossier residence have expressed mixed opinions about what the clinic is providing to there patients and the cost.

Bossier resident Marsha James McDougal told the Press-Tribune,”I think it’s great but you have to jump through hoops and pay so much just to get help on a limited income. I would rather have natural remedies than addictive opioids.”

But Bossier resident Kenneth Prim said, “Just my opinion, they can live without this drug.”

Louisiana allows medical marijuana for these conditions: cancer, positive status for HIV, AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post traumatic disorder, and some symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder.

“Studies have shown that medical marijuana is safe and effective for the treatment of many diseases. I can manage the pain of my patients and recommend an all-natural form of relief to those with debilitating medical conditions,” said Dr. Rossitter.

Louisiana recognizes 14 conditions as approved for treatment with medical marijuana, among them cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, and PTSD. It is sold in the form of pills, tinctures, and oromucosal sprays.

A medical marijuana clinic opened in Shreveport earlier this year, and the region’s single marijuana pharmacy is under construction in Shreveport.