Health and Human Services Secretary David Shulkin is proposing a rule that would require physicians to use a standardized medical marijuana testing kit before recommending patients get their prescriptions.
The Department of Health and Social Services says this is necessary to ensure that doctors are fully informed of the medical risks and benefits of medical marijuana.
But the proposed rule could have far-reaching consequences for the cannabis industry.
California has seen a spike in applications from patients and their doctors, which has put a strain on the state’s already stretched medical marijuana system.
The state is struggling to provide the proper training for doctors.
And medical marijuana advocates worry that the new rule could make it harder for those doctors to prescribe marijuana for patients.
The proposed rule, announced Thursday by Shulkins’ office, would require doctors to use standardized marijuana testing kits for their patients to help them make informed decisions.
The kits would be sent to the California Department of Public Health for review by the California Board of Pharmacy.
“This is going to create a lot of unnecessary confusion in the community, because we have a new testing protocol for medical cannabis,” said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
“We have a very, very complicated process for getting these kits.
This is going a step further.”
A medical marijuana patient’s medical marijuana kit would be mailed to the state.
It would include a test kit, a checklist, and instructions.
The instructions for administering the test include a sample of the drug, the dose, and a chart that shows how long it takes to work.
In addition to the kits, the patient’s doctor would have to provide him or her with a prescription for a form of medical cannabis that the patient could use.
The patient would also have to fill out a form to sign stating the medical use of medical or recreational marijuana.
That would require a prescription, which the state would send to the patient.
After the prescription is signed by the patient, the doctor would write the patient a letter explaining that they have to get a new form of a prescription and a new sample.
The doctor would send the new sample back to the medical marijuana provider, who would send it to the Department of Human Services for review.
“The new test would help doctors identify patients who have a medical need for medical treatment, because they don’t have the testing information available to them,” said Shulks spokeswoman Stephanie Anderson.
“This would also help patients who need more information about the risks and advantages of cannabis use.”
But the Department and Shulins office say that this would not be enough to accurately inform physicians about the medical benefits of cannabis.
“Physicians can provide more detailed information about marijuana use, and provide more comprehensive advice to patients, and I think that would be a good thing,” said Christopher Koller, policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
“But in the meantime, the state should be providing doctors with information that can be used to guide them, and they should not be forced to make decisions based on that information.”
The new rules will take effect in the spring.