11/11/2014 12:42 EST | Updated 01/11/2015 05:59 EST

Montreal's first medical marijuana clinic opens doors

The first medical marijuana clinic in Quebec has opened its doors in Montreal.

The goal of Santé Cannabis is to evaluate patients for therapies using medical marijuana, said Adam Greenblatt, the clinics's executive director.

"There’s about one million patients across Quebec who medicate with cannabis in some way or another," Greenblatt told CBC's Daybreak.

"But the large majority of them access their cannabis from illicit unregulated sources. So our goal really is to help facilitate access to legal sources of medical cannabis to eligible patients who meet certain qualifications." 

The name, Santé Cannabis, is a play on the French term for the federal government department, Santé Canada, (Health Canada).

Greenblatt has enlisted Dr. Michael Dworkind as the clinic's medical director, while Dr. Marcia Gillman will serve his associate director.

Both are known for their work in palliative care at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.

Greenblatt plans to have five doctors working in the clinic by February 2015. 

Patients who come to the clinic are asked to have a referral from their family doctor or treating physician.

He said the clinic follows the guidelines set out by Quebec's Collège des Médecins on the prescription of medical cannabis.

$250 annual fee

Greenblatt says Quebec's medical insurance system will cover the cost of the consultation by one of the clinic's doctors.

After that, patients will have to pay a $250 annual fee for the uninsured services of the clinic.

Those services include help choosing a licensed cannabis producer and an appropriate marijuana strain for treatment, and help navigating through the medical marijuana system.

Greenblatt says Santé Cannabis is a private business, but the main motivation is not profit.

"The purpose of our clinic is to serve as a portal to legal access to medical cannabis," said Greenblatt. “We know that the demand is out there."