On February 27, 2014, the Draft Patient Registry Rules for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Program (He-C 401) were posted by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services for public comment and were posted in the Rulemaking Register.

Physicians and nurse practitioners will play an integral role in the certification of patients for approval to obtain therapeutic cannabis once it is available. There are a number of sections in the Registry Rules that pertain specifically to physicians/NPs, and reviewing them and making comments during the next few weeks will be important; these sections are He-C 401.06-401.09. Some of the important aspects of these sections worth noting include: a provider must have an active N.H. license in good standing and have an active DEA registration; the provider-patient relationship must exist for at least three months (in most cases); having an in-person physical examination; and explaining the potential risks and benefits of using therapeutic cannabis. For patients who are minors, two certifications written by healthcare providers are required, one of which has to be a pediatrician. A severely debilitating or terminal medical condition that is not listed as a qualifying medical condition can be submitted for consideration via written petition to the commissioner of the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, as written, the Registry Rules do not provide for a provider registry in New Hampshire for therapeutic cannabis certification.

Read the rules, consider the important aspects to your patients and your practice and send in comments if needed. As a cautionary therapeutic cannabis tale, please see the links below about Dr. Patricia Cole, a physician in Montana who was disciplined by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners in 2010 “for failing to maintain the state's standards of care while seeing 151 patients in one day.”

Missoula Independent

Missoulian.com

NBC News.com

Regards,

Stuart J. Glassman, MD

Please send your questions or comments to president@nhms.org or post a comment below.