Harford Magazine - Page 44 - FAQ s about medical marijuana in Md.

Harford Magazine
- Page 44
FAQ s about medical marijuana in Md.
Here’s what prospective users need to know about medical marijuana.

Who is eligible to get a recommendation for medical marijuana in Maryland?

State law says the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission “is encouraged to approve” medical marijuana recommendations for:

• Patients with chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions who have been admitted to hospice or are receiving palliative care;

• Patients with a chronic or debilitating disease whose symptoms include (or for which the treatment produces side effects that include) cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe or persistent muscle spasms; and

• Patients who are diagnosed with any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and for which the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of marijuana.

• The commission specifically lists glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder as qualifying conditions.

What’s the process to get a written certification for medical marijuana?

Consumers first must register online as a patient with the commission. In addition to Maryland residents, non-Maryland residents who are in the state receiving medical treatment are eligible to register.

Patients must submit an electronic copy of a government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport or military ID), proof of address, a clear recent photo and the last four numbers of their Social Security number. More information about the process is available on the commission’s website.

For patients under age 18, a parent or legal guardian age 21 or older must register with the commission as a caregiver before registering the patient.

After registering, patients must obtain a written certification (recommendation) from a provider registered with the commission. The provider will need the patient’s commission-issued Patient ID number to issue the certification through the commission’s secure online application. If a certification is not used to purchase medical cannabis within 120 days, it becomes null and void.

Patients also can purchase ID cards for $50 from the commission after receiving a written certification. ID cards are not required to buy medical marijuana.

Do I need to go to a special doctor to get one?

Like patients seeking medical marijuana, doctors and other medical providers recommending medical cannabis to patients must be registered with the commission.

MedChi compiled a list of member doctors by region who are licensed by the Board of Physicians, who are licensed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and who asked to be listed. MarijuanaDoctors.com also provides a list of verified medical marijuana doctors in the state.

Can doctors prescribe medical marijuana?

No, prescribing medical cannabis is illegal under federal law. Doctors and other healthcare providers can only recommend or issue written certifications for medical marijuana.

Are different strains or products available at different dispensaries?

Yes. Many dispensaries offer different strains of dried marijuana with different properties designed to help treat various ailments. In addition to the dried plant, some dispensaries offer liquids that can be vaporized, oils, concentrates, topical ointments, wax, pills and accessories. Some extracts can be added to foods at home, but edible marijuana products are not available from Maryland dispensaries.

How much does it cost?

The price varies. At RISE Joppa, dried product sells for about $35 to $60 per eighthounce. A half-gram vape cartridge of oil from the shop costs $60 to $70. RISE Joppa only takes cash. Some locations have chosen to go cashless.

Will insurance pay for it?

Health insurance companies are not required to cover medical cannabis costs, but private health insurers can develop policies that will cover medical cannabis.

The federal government still classifies pot as an illegal drug. What impact does that have here?

Customers cannot travel to other states with medical marijuana from Maryland. The Transportation Security Administration does not screen for marijuana, but it likely will be confiscated if found during a search.

Has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved medical marijuana?

No, the FDA has not approved any product containing or derived from marijuana.

Can patients or doctors grow their own medical marijuana?

No.