In case you missed it, Queens, New York opened its first medical marijuana dispensary right next to the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, New York on January 22.

The center, called Vireo Health of New York, started providing clients with cannabis-based medication products made to help patients suffering from pain associated with a variety of chronic and terminal illnesses including cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord injury with spasticity, Epilepsy, Huntington’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis) or any neuropathies. Other illnesses include cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms.

They only offer the non-smokable form of cannabis including tinctures, oils and pills. The center is heavily secured, the only way in is with medical marijuana identification card. To obtain the card one must go on the City Board of Health’s website to register and receive it and there’s a one time fee of $50. After consulting one of the marijuana physicians, a client can make an appointment for further consultation with a medical professional at the Queens Patient Center.

One needs a medical marijuana ID card and the registered doctor’s recommendation, only then can the client enter through the heavy security the center has and if everything is in order, the pharmacist will retrieve the medicinal marijuana product from a safe and package it in an unmarked bag. The physicians don’t accept insurance and they can cost anywhere between $150 to $400 depending on where one goes to obtain a medicinal marijuana identification card.

Vireo Health of New York was given one of five licenses in the state to create and provide the products under the state’s Compassionate Care Act, which was signed into law in 2014 by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Marijuana dispensaries are more like a doctor’s office or a medical clinic. This is not a recreational site, but a facility that seeks to help individuals live a better life as they go through pain and suffering, people battling cancer, HIV/AIDS and other ailments,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst).