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Only 1 percent of doctors sign on to prescribe medical marijuana

Even though medical marijuana is currently legal under state law in Maryland, physicians are hesitant to sign up to distribute it. Some are not comfortable prescribing it, while others believe there is simply not enough known about it.

Doctors and hospitals have also wondered what type of liability they will have if they prescribe it -- especially since it is still illegal at the federal level. The state legislature authorized the medical marijuana program back in 2014; however, it has been full of delays, mostly due to licensing distributors, processors and growers.

The cannabis commission spokeswoman said their mission is "to create a process of providing safe and effective medial cannabis to patients." Doctors' medical license must be active, in good standing and that they are registered to prescribe it. In addition, physicians that do have to have a real relationship with patients. The program is limited to patients who have chronic diseases, debilitating medical conditions and severe conditions with symptoms like nausea, seizures, pain or wasting.

Right now, there are only about 172 doctors who have registered to be able to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. This means that people who live in rural counties won't have the same access to medical marijuana that patients who are in the Baltimore region or the suburbs in Washington.

Would medical marijuana create a liability for doctors? Could those doctors face medical malpractice lawsuits because of prescribing cannabis for patients? It depends on how the medical marijuana was prescribed and what type of outcome the patient had. If you or a loved one suffered because of being prescribed marijuana, you may find the advice of an attorney helpful. He or she can help you determine if you want to proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Few doctors sign on to recommend medical marijuana in Maryland," Meredith Cohn, Andrea K. McDaniels, Nov. 14, 2016

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