AAPM: Docs Get Advice on Medical Marijuana

March 29th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

WASHINGTON — Doctors in every state in the U.S. have the right to recommend medical marijuana for patients with a qualifying condition, such as cancer or HIV, but they can find themselves in legal hot water if they actually prescribe it — even in those states where medical marijuana has been legalized.

That’s because although the First Amendment right of free speech allows physicians to recommend medical marijuana, under a 2009 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, they may not say or do anything to help patients obtain the drug, according to Joshua Murphy, JD, of the Mayo Clinic Legal Department in Rochester, Minn.

Murphy gave clinicians a primer on the do’s and don’ts in the new — and expanding — playing field of medical marijuana, during a panel discussion here at the American Academy of Pain Medicine meeting.

“Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting the use of medical marijuana,” Murphy explained. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

But even if a doctor doesn’t live in those states, medical marijuana may still impact his practice — especially if he lives in a border state, he said.

Murphy’s talk highlighted a panel at the AAPM meeting that tackled the thorny problem of medical marijuana, complicated by varied state laws legalizing it and federal laws that ban it.

Despite an October 2009 Justice Department Article source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AAPM/25601