On November 6, 2018, Missourians approved an amendment to the Constitution to approve the use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. The purpose of Amendment 2 is to permit licensed physicians to recommend marijuana for medical purposes to patients with qualifying medical conditions. Amendment 2 allows patients with qualifying medical conditions the right to discuss freely with their physicians, the possible benefits of medical marijuana use, the right of their physician to provide professional advice concerning the same and the right to use medical marijuana for treatment under the supervision of a physician.
Amendment 2 defines medical use of marijuana, physicians, qualifying conditions, physician certification and etc. It also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to promulgate rules necessary for the implementation and enforcement of the amendment and to ensure the right to availability and safe use of medical marijuana in Missouri. There are some very specific guidelines that will need to be followed and incorporated into the existing regulations set forth by DHSS. For example, the amendment provides that nothing in the amendment permits a person to undertake any task under the influence of marijuana when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.
The effective date of the amendment is December 6, 2018. DHSS has until June 4, 2019 to make the application forms available for individuals who wish to become qualifying patients and to begin accepting applications. Even though the law has passed, the implementation of Amendment 2 will take place gradually. Any interested parties should monitor the website of DHSS for updates. Click Here.
Additionally, Amendment 2 does state that “[a] physician shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Missouri law or discipline by the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, or its successor agency, for owning, operating, investing in, being employed by or contracting with any entity licensed or certified pursuant to this section or issuing a physician certification to a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition in a manner consistent with this section and legal standards of professional conduct.”
While keeping Amendment 2 in mind, physicians are advised that pursuant to section 334.100.2, RSMo, the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts may pursue discipline of a physician’s license for causes such as:
- (1) Use of any controlled substance, as defined in chapter 195, or alcoholic beverage to an extent that such use impairs a person's ability to perform the work of any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter;
- (4) Misconduct, fraud, misrepresentation, dishonesty, unethical conduct or unprofessional conduct in the performance of the functions or duties of any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter […];
- (5) Any conduct or practice which is or might be harmful or dangerous to the mental or physical health of a patient or the public; or incompetency, gross negligence or repeated negligence in the performance of the functions or duties of any profession licensed or regulated by this chapter […];
- (13) Violation of the drug laws or rules and regulations of this state, including but not limited to any provision of chapter 195, any other state, or the federal government;
- (23) A pattern of personal use or consumption of any controlled substance unless it is prescribed, dispensed or administered by another physician who is authorized by law to do so […].
The Federation of State Medical Boards has published a model guideline for the recommendation of marijuana in patient care in April 2016, which is available on their website. Click Here.