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Medical Marijuana Prescriptions, Recommendations and Ethical Responsibility of Doctors; Sanctions in Colorado Relate to Medical Marijuana

Could Marijuana Reform Laws Push Doctors to Prescribe Inappropriately:

Are there doctors in the U.S. that are prescribing marijuana to patients for reasons that may not be completely medical?  This is a budding issue in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Right now in the U.S., that number is up to 23 states, and those likely to pass legislation that legalizes marijuana in some fashion is expected to grow in 2016.  The marijuana business has become a billion dollar industry already in the United States and there is no foreseeable end to this building momentum.  Thousands of people are flocking into the industry to plant a stake in the ground for business purposes, so is it possible that some doctors are doing this as well?  Are there doctors prescribing medical marijuana just for the business?

What is the Code of Ethics for Doctors:

According to the Principles of Medical Ethics of the AMA that relate to medical marijuana, in making of decisions for the treatment of persons who are disabled by injury or illness, the primary consideration should be what is best for the individual patient and not the avoidance of a burden to society.  Interpretation of the code of ethics can differ depending on the reader which is why some states see a difference in how doctors decide to prescribe.

Medical Marijuana, Doctor Prescriptions, and Colorado:

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Colorado for about 15 years.  During this time, over 115,000 people have requested and received recommendations for medical marijuana.  This number is large and it has people questioning its validity.  Since recreational marijuana is also legal in the state, but at a higher price and tax rate, many believe that people seek out the medical recommendation to avoid the higher prices of recreational marijuana.  Additionally, some critics think that medical marijuana recommendations are sought out to avoid other laws linked to the purchase of recreational marijuana.  With such a high number of physician recommendations in the state, word gets around regarding which doctors are more likely to give a recommendation for medical marijuana.  More business for the contingent of doctors more likely to make the medical marijuana recommendation is also an ethical dilemma pointed out by marijuana reform critics.  Over the last six years, the Colorado Medical Board has sanctioned at least six physicians for violating marijuana regulations.  The medical board will continue to review cases to make sure that a physician’s practice does not exist to solely provide medical cannabis recommendations.

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