Montel Williams has been the face of many things — host of a nationally syndicated television talk show and pitchman for prescription drug assistance products and a fruit-and-vegetable emulsifier.
On Monday, Williams appeared in Sacramento to announce a partnership with a new enterprise, a medical marijuana dispensary.
In a news conference at the newly renovated offices of the former Capital Wellness Center, Williams spoke about his own battle with multiple sclerosis and why he turned to marijuana to alleviate near-constant neurological pain.
"Prescription drugs nearly shut down my kidneys. Then a doctor suggested I try medical marijuana," said Williams, who credits pot for improving his health and well-being.
Williams – a recent guest host of "Good Day Sacramento" on Channel 31 (KMAX) – led a tour of the new Albatin Wellness Cooperative at 29th and U streets in the Newton Booth neighborhood of midtown. He was accompanied by a Harvard-trained physician, Dr. Alan Shackelford, who specializes in medical marijuana.
"We've been caught up in culture surrounding medical marijuana that's 20 years old," Williams said. "While adhering to every single state law, we want to provide safe access for patients and really medicalize this. Patients should be put first."
He decided to partner with the marijuana cooperative's director, Aundre Speciale, a friend he met two years ago and with whom he shares a philosophy of making medical marijuana available along with patient counseling and a standardized product.
The host of "The Montel Williams Show," which aired from 1991 to 2008, said he would be "involved at every level of the cooperative, from the philosophical direction down to the blueprints."
His influence certainly shines through in the décor and appearance of the dispensary, which is a far cry from at least some other facilities that advertise their product in windows and display it openly in glass cases. The building is as nondescript as its dull-blue hue, at least on the outside.
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