Medical marijuana has been legal in California since voters passed a ballot proposition in 1996, but legislatures continue to be unable to leave well enough alone. Despite the fact that there is no widespread evidence of young people abusing marijuana throughout the state, Senator Lou Correa, a Democrat from Santa Ana, is proposing stricter regulation of medical marijuana that would especially burden patients under the age of 21.
Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know that many people face prosecution because of their involvement with medical marijuana, despite its benefits. Laws need to be loosened on the federal level and kept the same or relaxed in the state in order to make it easier for sick people to get the medicine they need. If the law proposed by Senator Lou Correa were to go into effect, it would be a step backward in the fight to ensure medical marijuana is treated the same as any other legitimate method of treating symptoms or sicknesses.
Proposed Law Would Interfere in Medical Practice
If passed, Senator Lou Correa’s new bill on medical marijuana would require that marijuana dispensaries in California obtain state licenses from the California Department of Public Health. Further, doctors who recommend cannabis use as a treatment method for patients would also face new standards for examining patients.
The Senator contends his bill is aimed at practices in the Sacramento area where patients are issued medical marijuana cards after just a few minutes of speaking to a doctor via Skype. The patients are not undergoing a physical examination before the doctors provide them with medical marijuana cards based on a description of symptoms over the Internet.
According to the Los Angeles Times, if the new law passed, doctors would not be allowed to recommend marijuana to patients until they had first conducted an “appropriate examination.” The physicians would also need to periodically review the effectiveness of the treatment, and would be required to maintain records and discuss side effects with patients. A state senate panel supports the recommendations for tightening the standards on physicians.
Patients under the age of 21 would be subject to extra burdens under the law. Only a pediatrician would be allowed to make the recommendation that the patient use marijuana, and the accepted delivery method would need to be non-smoking.
The League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association have both spoken out in favor of the new proposed law, as have officers associations from Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana. The Citrus Heights Police Chief was quoted as saying “It is not medicine for doctors to show up at concerts to give recommendation cards to anyone willing to spend the cash.”
However, the California Medical Association opposes the bill because it interferes with the practice of medicine. The CMA also fears that a requirement for doctors to recommend the strength or type of marijuana to use could open up the physicians to possible federal enforcement action.
Interfering with the practice of medicine and putting doctors at risk of potentially getting arrested by federal authorities seems like far too high a price to pay just to make sure that people don’t get marijuana after too brief of a medical appointment.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
More Blog Entries
Pharmacists Want a Piece of the Marijuana Business, February 5, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog