Mass. Medical Society Has New Policy on Medical Marijuana
Following voter approval of ballot question three in November, which allows the use of medical marijuana in the state, physicians of the MMS have approved an extensive new resolution on the issue.
The new policy has several target areas. These areas inlcude defining the physician-patient relationship required under the law, and the development of appropriate standards for certification of doctors prescribing medical marijuana to patients. Also, the MMS is asking for more specific guideliness on registration cards for patients who are prescribed medical marijuana, and more thorough regulations regarding the implications of marijuana on occupational health and safety. The MMS also wants clarification with the mandated peer reporting requirements that do not apply to doctors who choose to provide certifications under the law.
The society plans to advocate to include recommendations from the American Society of Addication Medicine relevent to medical marijuana patient care, as well as asking for the Department of Public Health to monitor marijuana dispensing through the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.
“We recognize that the law is binding as a result of the vote, but as written, the law poses many unanswered questions,” said MMS President Richard Aghababian, M.D.
Aghababian continues, “Of particular concern are issues that bear directly on a physician’s practice of medicine under the regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and those that could affect the physician-patient relationship. As the law requires physician participation to certify patients, it is imperative that we provide perspective and input on these issues as regulations are developed to govern the full implementation of the medical marijuana law.”
The MMS had opposed the ballot initiative and the legalization of medicinal marijuana until such a time that scientific studies demonstrate its safety and effectiveness. It has asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana so that its potential medicinal use by humans can be further studied and potentially regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The resolution, which is now the official policy of the Society, was adopted unanimously by the MMS House of Delegates, at the organization’s 2012 Interim Meeting on December 1 in Waltham.