There are four easy steps to become a Pennsylvania Certified Medical Marijuana Physician or doctor, although you cannot enter the registry now you can, however, get acquainted with the process. After a cannabis consulting expert review of Pennsylvania Chapter 4 of the Marijuana Act, Act 16, signed by Governor Wolf on May 17th, 2016, the following steps were outlined. For those that are looking to submit an application, the draft rules should be published by the end August of 2016 and applications to become a cultivator, processor or dispensary should be accepted in the month of December. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has until November 17, 2016, to start to release temporary regulations.
Step 1: “A Physician must apply for registration in the form and manner required by the department.”
The Department of Health will more than likely publish a form that will indicate all needed information for a physician to enroll.
Below is an example from Oregon, in an ideal situation the state shouldn’t identify medical marijuana on the form. The form should just require the physician to certify that the patient does have the condition. Removing marijuana or cannabis from the application form will bypass the liability of the doctor and the adverse events that may occur from medical marijuana. Also, nurse practitioners should be able to sign this document (opinion). Those two small changes to the Pennsylvania law will make dramatic differences in physician enrollment and patient access.
Below are out State Physician Written Certification Forms
- Illinois: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/forms/Medical-Cannabis-Physician-Written-Certification-032715-040616.pdf
- Colorado: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/CHED_MMR_Form_MMR1002_PHYSICIAN_CERTIFICATION_0316.pdf
- Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/lara_BHCS_MMMP_Application_Packet_0115_478291_7.pdf
- Oregon: http://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/Documents/ommp-attending-physicians-statement.pdf
Step 2: “The department must determine that the physician is, by training or experience, qualified to treat a serious medical condition, training or experience as required by the department.”
The step will more than likely be placed within the form identifying an area of practice for the physician. The state is trying to avoid chronic pain doctors certifying cancer patients. Below are some resources from other medical marijuana states that help physicians through the process. Massachusetts and New York are all online. Based on what I have seen in Pennsylvania I would not expect that to be automated, let’s hope it is.
- Massachusetts: Online http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hcq/medical-marijuana/info-for-physicians.html
- New York: Online https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/practitioner/
Step 3: “The Physician must have successfully completed the course under section 301 (A) (6). Section 301 (A) (6) reads as follows “Develop a four-hour training course for physicians, pharmacists, certified registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants regarding the latest scientific research on medical marijuana, including the risks and benefits of medical marijuana, and other information deemed necessary by the department. Successful completion of the course shall be approved as continuing education credits as determined by:
(I) The state board of medicine and the state board of osteopathic medicine.
(II) The state board of pharmacy.
(III) The state board of nursing.”
This is not uncommon in the medical cannabis industry for newly emerging states. The cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 recommend courses that cover the following:
- Understanding the Endocannabinoid System;
- Cannabis Clinical uses and Therapeutic Indications;
- Side Effects;
- Adverse Reactions;
- Overdose Prevention;
- Drug Interactions;
- Dosing and Routes of Administration;
- Risks and Benefits;
- Warnings and Precautions;
- Abuse and Dependence; and
- Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.
To get an idea of what the course covers, the marijuana consulting team at Quantum 9 highly recommend taking the course in New York if possible. Below you will find a few different resources to help educate physicians of the power of cannabinoid therapy.
- New York Four Hour Course: https://www.theanswerpage.com/new-york-state-practitioner-education-medical-use-marijuana
- Maryland Patient Focuses Training Course: http://patientfocusedcertification.org/
- Washington State Training Course: http://adai.uw.edu/mcacp/
- Clinical Cannabinoid Medicine: http://cannabisclinicians.org/medical-cannabis-continuing-education-cme-course/
- United Patients Group: http://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/2016/04/29/cannabis-education-for-medical-professionals-united-patients-group-answers-the-call-with-launch-of-accredited-cannabis-curriculum/
Step 4: “The Department shall review an application submitted by a physician to determine whether to include the physician in the registry. The review shall include information maintained by the department of state regarding whether the physician has a valid, unexpired, unrevoked, unsuspended Pennsylvania license to practice medicine and whether the physician has been subject to discipline.”
Once the state has added you to the registry it is good for one year; then you have to reregister and pay the required fees again.
If you need help with your application submission please feel free to reach out to Quantum 9.