Longtime medical marijuana patient and advocate – and former talk show host – Montel Williams is partnering with a friend to open the Abatin Wellness Cooperative, a medical cannabis dispensary, in Sacramento, California.
Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and later turned to cannabis to treat symptoms caused by the disease. “Prescription drugs nearly shut down my kidneys. Then a doctor suggested I try medical marijuana,” Williams explains.
Williams is primarily interested in providing a “standardized product” to patients, as well as providing counseling. In fact, at Abain Wellness, patients must meet with a counselor each time they visit. Additionally, marijuana is not on display in the facility and patients only receive their medicine at the very end of a visit. Consuming marijuana on the property is not allowed.
Williams’s goal is to “really medicalize this (the marijuana dispensary experience).” He envisions an environment one’s “mother and father could see themselves walk into,” and indeed, he brought his parents to the dispensary for a tour.
While medical marijuana has come a long way of late, Mr. Williams recognizes that many do not accept cannabis as legitimate medicine. “It’s absurd,” says Williams. “I can go get morphine pumped into my system and nobody’s got a problem … But all of a sudden they’re really worried if I smoked a joint.”