Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Support from Florida Governor Rick Scott
In the U.S, Telemedicine and Medical marijuana have long been used to treat certain health conditions. However, for the last five years, the two non-traditional approaches have gained considerable traction in the healthcare arena. In fact, some states have chosen to prevent the use of telemedicine to prescribe medical marijuana as a treatment for patients with serious medical conditions.
Last week, the Florida lawmakers passed legislation to extend the use of cannabis to residents who suffer severe pain that meets specific qualifying conditions. However, one line specifies that any patient who wants to be certified for medical cannabis cannot do so through virtual visits.
Under the new bill to be signed into law by Governor Scott, patients ought to be in the same physical location as the doctor during checkup to determine whether they are eligible for medical marijuana.
These restrictions didn’t happen overnight. Last year, the Florida Board of Medicine signaled an interest to stop doctors from using telemedicine technology for medical cannabis. In December, the Board issued an amendment to proposed telemedicine regulations to pinpoint the restriction on the use of medical marijuana.
It’s quite difficult for states to legalize cannabis because of the patchwork of federal, state, and local laws involved as well as the state-by-state nature of telemedicine laws. For instance, California was the first state to legalize the use of medical cannabis, and better still doesn’t forbid the use of telemedicine to acquire the substance. Colorado, being one of the most liberal states in the nation for legalizing the use of marijuana, for medical or recreation purpose, requires an in-person examination before any virtual visit to get medical marijuana.
One startup is offering telemedicine visits explicitly for marijuana prescription. HelloMD, a service known for employing telemedicine to connect individuals with physicians willing and able to prescribe medical cannabis, lately raised over a million dollars through equity crowdfunding on SeedInvest.