By Van Smith
Baltimore, Jan. 25, 2019
Just out is the Maryland Department of Legislative Services “fiscal and policy note” for this session’s House Bill 18 18 (HB 18) to expand the list of licensed professionals allowed to certify patients for the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission (MCC) program. In it, policy analyst Kathleen Kennedy – fresh from giving the treatment to HB 17, proposing cannibis for opiate-addiction treatment – explains how the measure would include physical therapists, psychologists, and physician assistants in the MCC’s administration of the state’s legal-weed regime.
Currently, physicians, dentists, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives undergo MCC registration so that they can assess patients’ medical conditions and deem them qualified for medical cannibis, and as of Jan. 9 there were 1,243 of them. HB 18, as Kennedy’s note explains, would add physical therapists, psychologists, and physicians assistants to the rolls, while adding representatives of those professions to the mix of the MCC’s roster.
To become a certifying provider under HB 18, an active, in-good-standing license would be required of physical therapists, psychologists, and physicians assistants, the note continues, and the latter must also have “an active delegation agreement with a physician who is a certifying provider.” While current certifying providers must have a Maryland controlled dangerous substances (CDS) registration, members of the proposed professions would not have to meet this requirement, though, as the note points out, “physician assistants can prescribe CDS under the CDS registration of their delegating physician.”
HB 18 is one of three bills sponsored this session by Baltimore City state Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-45th District), a leader in creating and reforming the MCC, that would expand the scope of Maryland’s medical cannabis program.