Marijuana Inconsistencies

July 21, 2017

Track 3: Public Health/Disparities
Thursday, July 27
2:30–4 p.m.
Tennessee B

Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, but its use for therapeutic purposes is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. There is little consensus on how medical marijuana programs should operate. However, one shared view in the marijuana debate is that the whole process is confusing.

The status of medical marijuana will be examined Thursday in “Mapping Marijuana: Variation in Key Features of Current State Medical Marijuana Laws.” APMA’s House of Delegates in March passed Resolution 11-17, which supports evidence-based treatment with medical marijuana and the right of podiatric physicians to prescribe it.

“States vary on the extent to which the medical marijuana can be used. From a health-care provider point of view, it is difficult to know what to do. We are in a period where medical marijuana is expanding, and support for it continues to push that expansion,” said Scott Burris, JD, professor and director of the Public Health Law Research Center, Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Burris will present an overview of the move to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Restrictions on its use vary from state to state, from the number of plants allowed to the number of ounces that can be used—and for how long.

“These jurisdictions have lists of qualifying diseases that marijuana can be prescribed for, and most are pretty broad and long," he said.

Currently, only allopathic or osteopathic physicians can prescribe the use of marijuana for treatment. That means podiatric physicians cannot prescribe it, and they do not treat most of the conditions for which medical marijuana can be used.

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