The state Department of Medical Services (DMHS) will allow medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to request a medical marijuana patient identification card and medical marijuana cards will be issued to the medical marijuana program, according to the department.
DMHS Commissioner David Koster confirmed the news.
The new policy comes as the Legislature prepares to consider legislation that would expand the state Medicaid program to include recreational marijuana.
The bill, which has not yet passed the House or Senate, would make the state the 24th to allow patients and caregivers to apply for medical marijuana licenses.
Koster said he has talked with his counterparts in Washington state, where recreational marijuana use is legal, as well as Oregon and Colorado.
The governors of those states also approved their own medical marijuana policies, which Koster said will help alleviate the medical needs of the millions of Americans who live with debilitating medical conditions.
The state medical marijuana law allows patients and medical providers to obtain a medical cannabis card from the Department of Health.
Patients will need to show they are over 18 years old, and be eligible to use medical marijuana for a condition that qualifies as “serious” under the state medical cannabis program.
The program is also capped at 20 patients.DMHS would only allow medical providers who want to apply to collect patients’ medical marijuana identification card information to do so through a third party company, not DMHS.
Patients and their relatives will have to fill out a form, which is a two-page form and a form mailed to their home address.
The proposed new policy would allow the medical cannabis cards to be issued by a private company.
Medical providers who receive a medical card from a third-party company will be subject to the same restrictions that apply to any other medical marijuana license.
The state’s Health Department will be responsible for collecting the cardholder’s information, including their name, date of birth, address, phone number and social security number, and for the card holder’s signature on the form.DMHC has already approved the state to allow dispensaries to collect identification cards, but it was unclear if it would be able or willing to allow the cards to also be issued for medical use.
Medical marijuana card holders will have the option to renew their card if they want to use the card to purchase recreational marijuana, but the process would likely be cumbersome and time-consuming, said Kevin Sabet, senior fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based drug policy advocacy group.DMH will also allow medical cannabis patients and families to request their medical marijuana information through the state website, as long as they do not include any identifying information, such as a Social Security number, the department said.
Patients who do not want to have their medical cannabis information published on the website will be required to provide it to their primary caregiver, who must provide the same information to the state.