A medical marijuana program is only as good as its ability to serve suffering patients. One issue that some states experience, especially when their medical marijuana programs are new, is getting people on board who are legally able to sign the papers to recommend that someone become a medical marijuana patient. That's almost always just certain types of medical doctors. However, there is a growing push to expand the list of medical professionals that can fulfill that requirement to comply with state medical marijuana laws. The most recent state to move forward on this idea is Maryland, where the House approved a bill that would expand medical marijuana recommendation powers to midwives, nurses, dentists and podiatrists. Per the Washington Post:
Maryland would allow midwives, nurses, dentists and foot doctors to certify patients for medical-marijuana under a bill the state House of Delegates passed Friday.
Current state law restricts such authority to physicians, but the House voted 110 to 21 to extend it to other types of health-care providers.
The legislation, sponsored by Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), will now move to the Senate for consideration. It would allow nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, dentists and podiatrists to certify patients for medical-marijuana purchases.
One of the biggest 'winners' if this bill becomes law are patients in rural areas. Finding a doctor that will sign your medical marijuana paperwork in a large metro area is not that difficult in states that have medical marijuana programs. However, a compassionate doctor that sympathizes with cannabis patients, or any doctor for that matter, is non-existent in most rural parts of medical marijuana states. This bill would help a lot, especially when it comes to midwives and dentists, in rural areas. I remember when Oregon's program first started, people would drive as far as 5 hours to get their paperwork signed by a doctor. That's not the case now, but I can definitely understand why a bill like this is needed, in Maryland any all other medical marijuana states that have MD only signature authority rules.