As medical marijuana comes to more states, dispensaries are popping up all over the country. In the Tampa Bay area, Dr. Cannabus takes a mobile approach.
The appointment-based, family-owned mobile business travels around St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Fort Myers and Clearwater helping people get their medical marijuana cards.
“We decided to be mobile, so we can move around to the different dispensaries, work with them and make it easier for patients,” Kelli Cohen, a managing partner of Dr. Cannabus said. “You know, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere, where some people are scared to go in a doctor’s office. When it’s mobile, we can talk to them outside and they’re in a very private setting.”
To get a medical marijuana card, you must have a qualifying condition (approved by a doctor) and be a Florida resident. Seasonal residents are welcome, but must show a lease agreement (or state ID) and a bill in Florida.
“As long as you have a qualifying condition, the state of Florida recognizes that and that’s approved medically,” Cohen said.
Doctor fees typically start at $249 per person and patients must also pay a state fee of $75.
Dr. Cannabus is the dream of founder Bob Kontout, who started the service in 2019.
“He had a dream of this bus that patients got on, but he wasn’t really sure what kind of concept he wanted,” Cohen said. “My friend owned three clinics and she was telling him how the appointments were short and how the appointments are really intimate and he said, ‘That is the concept that needs to be on the bus.’”
Patients fill out paperwork online and a doctor sees each patient for 15 to 20 minutes on the bus.
“We literally have people drive two hours away so they’re not seen walking in and out of a waiting room,” Cohen said.
They recently launched a Cannavan, which provides home visits to patients on their time. Cohen says that service is ideal for people who cannot leave their home, or who are less comfortable with that prospect during the pandemic.