Just this past Monday, the House of Delegates approved a bill that would allow certain physicians to recommend the use of medical marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions. As of now, the bill is to go to the Senate, but many are optimistic about the outcome.
If this legislation passes, it would replace the current system which restricts medical marijuana use to those patients who receive care at an academic medical center. The problem with the current system is that none of the academic medical centers have participated and, thus, no patients have received the drug through this program. The new bill proposes to allow certain licensed physicians to write a "recommendation" for the use of medical marijuana. A "recommendation" is akin to a prescription, but due to federal law, the bill cannot call it that.
This bill is a step forward for patients who would benefit from medical marijuana because they would be able to seek the recommendation from their current physicians and would not need to seek a new physician from an academic medical center, as the current rule requires. It is essential for patients and their care givers to maintain their relationships to ensure comfort and the best care for the patient.