Cannabis is coming. In fact, it's just around the corner.

Now that Missouri voters have legalized medical marijuana, applications for dispensaries are being processed, with the first licensed facilities in the state slated to open some time after January 2020, according to the “Frequently Asked Questions for Patients” page of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.

At that time, Missourians with prescriptions for cannabis can start legally receiving the drug at a state-authorized dispensary.

Another thing that was just around the corner was the line outside of the Laughing Dragon smoking accessories store Monday as patients lined up to submit applications for marijuana patient identification cards.

All sorts of people stood in that line outside the business at 217 E. Washington St., just off the square in Marshfield, and many carried with them invisible trauma. There are those like Trent Mall, the owner of the Laughing Dragon, who carry the burden of post-traumatic stress disorder from combat service. Others are looking to the drug to help themselves or their loved ones with such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, nausea, pain, muscle spasms or wasting syndrome, among others. And of course there are those with cancer, which can steal the body's appetite and cause terrible discomfort, sometimes during treatment, and often in a patient’s final days.

A lot of people are counting on the health benefits of marijuana, and their chance to see how it will work for them is likewise just around the corner.

We in Webster County know how lucky we are to have our own Lyndall Fraker as Director of Medical Marijuana for the State of Missouri. Mr. Fraker is a man of character who seems to have brought thoughtful leadership to the legalization of medical marijuana.

Of course, there are drugs that are more powerful at relaxing muscles and soothing the mind than cannabis. At the very moment crowds awaited their turn in the application line Monday, Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes our baby powder, was fined half a billion dollars for its role in hooking Americans on opioids, thus highlighting the need for multiple options to serve the needs of patients.

Medicine is tricky. Just when you go trusting it, you find out it can kill you, whether we're talking about Vioxx or Fen-Phen or a host of other pharmaceuticals. Even talcum powder (hello, Johnson & Johnson) has been found to cause cancer.

The promising thing about cannabis is that it has been employed for medical purposes since before recorded history. It's not something a pharmaceutical company is cooking up in a lab in an effort to make a profit.

I have no current need for cannabis, and I won't be availing myself of the drug any time soon. But I’m very glad the option is on the table. And to those who are suffering with conditions that previously seemed beyond help, I hope you find what you need, whether that is through cannabis or some other remedy. It is terrible to suffer with pain and discomfort, and we all deserve to seek the help we need to feel better.

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