Illinois is one of 33 states that has legalized medical marijuana. While such legalization has expanded the ways to address patient pain, it has left physicians in the tricky position of determining whether to prescribe a substance that, while legal at the state level, still faces a federal ban. The question physicians face now is whether their license may be put in jeopardy, even if cannabis is approved for medical use. The answer, of course, is “it depends.”
The risk to physicians is generally minimal, thanks especially to a declaration by the Justice Department in 2013 stating that attorneys would not pursue actions against physicians who recommend medical marijuana in states that have made such use legal. However, this has not stopped state agencies from threatening loss of license to those physicians who do not play by the appropriate rules.
Physicians who neglect to conduct required examinations and report the necessary medical histories when prescribing medical marijuana run the risk of having their actions investigated. Physicians are typically required to maintain accurate medical records, check pharmacy databases to ensure patients are not obtaining certification from other providers, and complete the minimum amount of medical education on the benefits and risks of medical cannabis. What is viewed as the most important requirement for physicians to follow? To maintain an ongoing doctor/patient relationship. A physician should never provide a recommendation for medical marijuana to a previously unseen patient without ensuring the appropriate relationship is established. Such action could result in the physician being taken advantage of by a patient who has already received certifications from multiple providers.
Failure to follow such state requirements could ultimately lead to a complaint being filed against your license by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. If any problems should occur, Williams & Nickl can help you navigate the process and ensure you get back on the right track. Our firm focuses on professional license defense to ensure the Medical Board does infringe upon your rights and provides you with a chance to move on from your past issue.