FESTUS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A local psychiatrist is touting the benefits of medical marijuana.
According to Dr. Zinia Thomas, she’s signed up “thousands” of people for Missouri’s new medical marijuana card which requires a doctor’s certification.
Thomas isn’t waiting for patients to come to her office, instead she’s taking her “cannabus” tour to various locations around the state including Warrenton, St. Charles and Festus.
In September, she signed up dozens of patients at a store along Main Street in Festus.
The line stretched throughout the store and outside to a public sidewalk.
A News 4 producer counted approximately 60 people going through the process during his visit.
After waiting in line, patients were handed an iPad with 7 questions about “generalized anxiety disorder.”
The questions included things like “having trouble relaxing” and “feeling afraid as if something awful might happen.”
Patients were given the option to score their responses on a scale of 0 to 3 for each question.
The questionnaire specifically told patients “at least a 10 is required to qualify!”
After scoring a ten or higher, patients were then asked to pay $100.
Patients were then brought into a back room in groups of 10 or more to hear the doctor speak about medical marijuana.
Dr. Thomas told the group, “Congratulations, everybody you’re legal! Go take your medicine.”
After hearing the doctor speak with the group, they were handed a photo copied form with the doctor's signature and initials.
Dr. Thomas’ initials appeared on a line stating that had "met with and examined the qualifying patient.”
“Yes, it’s a mental health status exam," Thomas said when asked if she examines patients.
Three News 4 employees visited the Festus location where the "Cannibus" was parked outside a smoke shop. All three were certified by Dr. Thomas as having a “debilitating psychiatric disorder.”
Asked if she believes all of the people she certifies suffer from a debilitating psychiatric disorder Thomas responded, “Yes I do. Anxiety.”
Lyndall Fraker oversees the medical marijuana program for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Fraker said the certification requires an exam, but it needs to be one-on-one with the doctor and patient.
So can Dr. Thomas certify 10 to 15 people at once?
“The constitution, nor the rules address that specifically. It just says they are required to have an exam," Fraker said.
News 4 asked Dr. Thomas why the questionnaire tells patients the score required to obtain a medical marijuana license.
Thomas disputed what the form says and replied, “No, I don’t think it should be on the form, that’s leading.”
News 4 showed her the digital form with the line telling patients they required a score of 10 to qualify.
“…I don’t think it’s on there now,” Thomas said.
Dr. Thomas prides herself on alternative therapies.
Her Brentwood office includes salt rooms, a float tank and a cryogenic chamber.
After witnessing how the certification process works, News 4 asked Thomas if she would favor eliminating the physician certification for obtaining marijuana in Missouri.
She said, “No, I provide guidance, education…this is my job. I’m a doctor.”
Asked if she’s making a lot of money off the process she said, “no more than I did in my other practice…no more. Doctors make a lot of money.”
News 4 also asked Fraker if there’s a need for a doctor’s certification. “Ask the creators of the amendment, the constitution clearly says it must be done by a doctor," Fraker responded.