Pubdate: Tue, 05 Aug 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Gail Rand
Page: 12


Faculty at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conclude,
in a letter responding to the July 25 article "Medical marijuana rules
for doctors raise concerns" that requirements on physicians
recommending marijuana for medical use are "not a burden" ("Physicians
need periodic checkups in medical marijuana use," Aug. 1)

That might be true in an ideal world. However, imposing unnecessary
hurdles for doctors, like mandatory registration and special training,
will invariably chill physician participation in the Maryland medical
marijuana program.

Of course doctors should educate themselves on the therapeutic effects
of cannabis, a process that can only improve the health of their
patients. However, many doctors are fearful of what the federal
government might do to them. Although this fear is generally misplaced
given physicians' right under the First Amendment to recommend
cannabis to their patients, most doctors refuse to get involved. An
even greater hurdle to doctor participation could be the requirement
for doctors to specify the strain, dosage, and amount in their
recommendation to patients.

That's why the Natalie M. La Prade Medical Marijuana Commission's
proposed rules must relax requirements on physicians to better
encourage participation. Even Del. Dan Morhaim, a physician and one of
the lead proponents of the legislation passed earlier this year,
opposed the proposed "barriers for physicians" and said the rules
could deter participation.

Doctors are the backbone to any medical marijuana program, and we must
do what we can to encourage, not discourage, their

Gail Rand, Annapolis
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