Patients seeking certification to use legal medical marijuana will not be able to obtain it at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH).

After considerable research and discussion, SGCMH adopted a policy that none of the physicians in its employment will certify patients to use medical marijuana.

The issue has been a hot one since Missouri voters last November passed Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment that allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with cancer, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, glaucoma, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Since then every hospital across the state of Missouri has had to make the determination whether they want to participate with medical marijuana or not,” noted Hirschell Parker, executive director of quality and risk management for SGCMH.

Missouri physicians may certify that patients have a health condition that would benefit from a cannabis-based product, but they do not actually write prescriptions for it.

“With many individuals, the conception is they can go to the physician or the provider and get a prescription for medical marijuana,” Parker said. “But that’s not the case. What they’re actually going to the physician for would be to get a certification statement and basically from the Division of Senior Services (DSS) a document indicating they have a condition that would benefit from medical marijuana.”

The biggest problem and most complicating factor is the disparity between state and federal laws.

“So, the rub is, it’s still an illegal drug,” Parker said. “In the federal government’s eyes, it’s 100 percent illegal. So, I imagine if you would speak to anybody from Medicare or from the federal government, they’re going to tell you the same story: that it’s illegal, point-blank.”

See complete story in the August 7 edition of the Herald.