Panama City, FL –
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) – New rules defining the dos and don’ts that physicians must follow when certifying patients to smoke medical marijuana took effect last week , but it is not clear whether doctors or patients are fully aware of it.
Patients certified or recertified to smoke medical marijuana must sign a new standardized consent form as of last Tuesday. This form includes for the first time information on the dangers of smoking near oxygen tanks and advises patients to check their marijuana supplies for mold contaminants.
In addition, physicians must adhere to new standards of practice which, for the first time, specify what they must do to certify patients and what information must be included in patients’ medical records.
The National Office for Medical Marijuana Use, however, does not have the new standardized consent form. Additionally, new physician practice guidelines are not posted on the Board of Medicine or Board of Osteopathic Medicine websites.
In addition, medical groups statewide have not announced to their members that the new rules are in effect.
Doctors who fail to comply with the new requirements could face disciplinary action from their state boards if complaints are filed and found to be valid.
Joel Rose, a doctor in Tampa who played a key role in drafting the new regulations, admitted the rules came into effect quietly, but said he wanted to “turn up the volume” and let doctors know.
“They always say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but the word has to get out,” Rose told the News Service of Florida.
The regulations were developed by the Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana, made up of members of the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Rose had served on the Board of Osteopathic Medicine for 14 years until her term expired.
As members of the joint committee voted unanimously for the rules, Rose said the job initially seemed intimidating. The committee had no model to follow, and some members were reluctant to pass regulations that could be seen as endorsing smoking.
Jorge J. Lopez, a doctor from Maitland and a member of the committee, said smoking marijuana can be addictive and it is too much to call it medicinal and pass rules to regulate it.
“Personally, I think what we’re doing is a workaround rather than decriminalizing recreational marijuana,” he said at a meeting this spring. “But it has landed on our knees, and we have to work with it.”
While Rose said he understood these concerns, he said the goal was to develop rules that educate the public about the potential risks and benefits of smoking marijuana and lay the foundation for patient safety. .
“If you don’t agree with that, you don’t have to be a qualified doctor and order medical marijuana for patients,” Rose said. “I kind of thought in my mind that it was kind of like abortion. The state allows abortions, and many doctors disagree with that and will not perform abortions. So I sort of saw it this way: What can we do to better serve the public and fulfill what the legislature has given us? “
Florida voters in 2016 passed a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, but lawmakers initially did not allow forms of cannabis to be smoked.
The legislature in 2019 demanded that medical boards by July 1, 2021 adopt rules that doctors must follow when ordering marijuana for patients to smoke. The warrant was included as part of a law championed by Governor Ron DeSantis that allowed patients to smoke medical marijuana.
Before the new rules came into effect, non-terminally ill patients who were certified to smoke medical marijuana were required to sign consent forms. But the new form warns patients not to smoke medical marijuana or any other combustible product near oxygen tanks, as it could cause a fire or explosion.
Additionally, the new consent form advises patients with smoking certifications to check their marijuana supplies, as the buds can become infected with mold or mildew that pose health risks.
The new practice guidelines make it clear that physicians must perform comprehensive in-person patient assessments that include family and social history “with an emphasis on substance use disorders and mental health” and must document the information in the charts. medical patients.
The Standards of Practice also require physicians to document in medical records whether patients are pregnant and the results of any therapeutic or laboratory diagnostic work if performed by qualified physicians or received by qualified physicians from other practitioners. . Additionally, while the state has required physicians to consult a database of prescription drugs before ordering marijuana for patients, the new rules require physicians to document in patients’ medical records that they are they looked at the database.
Medical marijuana lobbyist Ron Watson has said he thinks the new rules are reasonable.
“They weren’t as bad as I thought they were,” Watson said. “I was worried that (rules) was a way to quit (smoking marijuana). “
A 2021 report shows that medical marijuana use continues to grow in Florida, and medical marijuana smoking is growing in popularity.
The report released by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine shows that 95% of the 443,888 patients who had medical marijuana certifications between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020, had at least one order of marijuana in to smoke.
Additionally, 85 percent of physicians who certified patients for marijuana in the 12-month period wrote orders for marijuana to be smoked.
A report from the previous year showed that 65% of doctors who certified marijuana had written prescriptions for marijuana to be smoked. But the 2020 report was based on data between March 18, 2019 and September 30, 2019. The 2021 report also showed a huge increase in the number of patients eligible for medical marijuana. The numbers went from 291,865 on October 1, 2019 to 443,888 on September 30, 2020.
Rose said her goal was to create reasonable rules that would avoid administrative challenges and that doctors find workable.
“The next step is to see how it works with the community that orders medical marijuana for patients,” Rose said.
Doctor’s face new rules for smokable medical marijuana Source link Doctor’s face new rules for smokable medical marijuana