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Local dispensary starts filling medical marijuana prescriptions

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Local dispensary starts filling medical marijuana prescriptions

CREATED Dec 11, 2012 - UPDATED: Dec 12, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

Web Producer: Mekita Rivas

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - After two years of waiting, patients eligible for medical marijuana are finally getting prescriptions filled in Tucson.

"This is Tucson's first and it is a historic moment," said Dr. Steven Shochat.

Dr. Shochat is the Director of Operations at Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies, a dispensary near Broadway and Kolb. Outside the shop, security is tight, real tight.

"We're by appointment only," said Dr. Shochat. "That way we can keep crowds under control."

It means patients can't just walk in. An armed security guard will make sure of that. In fact 9OYS cameras weren't even allowed inside, but patients told us what it was like.

"She just took my driver's license and medical marijuana card," said one woman.

"Then they call you back to see the doctor," said another man.

"You talk to the doctor and explain what your symptoms are," said Eghtesadi.

"You have to pay cash," said another woman.

Patients have to pay a lot of cash, anywhere from $90 to $160 to get less than an ounce of green. Patients tell 9OYS it's a tad pricier, but better and safer than getting it off the streets.

"You can have bad complications you don't know who you're dealing with," said Eghtesadi. "It can just turn out ugly."

But not everyone who showed up walked away with a prescription. Dispensary operators say they're still working out the kinks in the system, so a lot of people, at least for a little longer, will have to wait.

"It's out in the open and legal, but I have yet to get any," said one woman. "I won't believe it until I see it. Anything can happen with what they're trying to do with the law."

Since this is the only up-and-running dispensary in Southern Arizona, demand is extremely high. Some patients drove all the way from Bisbee and were only able to set up a future appointment. Appointments are already booked through December and into January.