Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Your State? If So, Here’s How You Can Mitigate Your Risk

September 12, 2023

A growing number of states have enacted laws authorizing the use of cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. However, the drug remains classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law and distribution of cannabis remains federally prohibited. Therefore, physicians must become knowledgeable about how to avoid professional liability risk, criminal prosecution or the loss of their professional license or position.
ISMIE’s resource on medical cannabis offers these strategies for mitigating risk:
  1. Know the law and comply with it. Some states require that a bona fide physician-patient relationship has been previously established before certifying patients. Be sure you know and stay up to date on your state’s requirements.
  2. Do not refer to medical cannabis as a prescription. Giving a patient a prescription for medical cannabis is akin to giving them a prescription for heroin, peyote, or LSD – in other words, illegal! Become familiar with your state’s process for medical cannabis usage.
  3. Use your best clinical judgement. You are not obligated to certify patients for medical cannabis.
  4.  Educate your patient on the risks and benefits of medical cannabis usage and document your efforts. Having a thorough informed consent process is essential.
  5. Consider checking your state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Several states legally require that their PDMP be checked before certifying patients for medical marijuana use.
Questions? Please contact the Risk Management Division by email
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