Delaware doctors could get wider ability to prescribe marijuana

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Doctors would have wider discretion to prescribe marijuana to patients under a proposal before the General Assembly.

Medical marijuana cards are only issued now when a doctor certifies that a patient has a specific “debilitating medical condition,” caused by one of a list of illnesses.

That list includes chronic conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and HIV. It also covers some side effects, like pain and nausea, that come with treating other illnesses.

The legislation offered by state Sen. Anthony Delcollo, R-Elsmere, removes reliance on that list and states doctors can certify a patient for medical marijuana use for “any other medical condition or treatment” for which marijuana “is likely to provide a therapeutic or palliative benefit.”

In Delaware, doctors must certify a patient has a condition that qualifies for marijuana treatment. The state has the final authority to issue the patient a card to use to purchase marijuana at a state-approved dispensary.

Dr. Andrew Dahlke, Medical Society of Delaware president, said his organization will discuss the bill in detail Monday. On its face, he said, it looks like an improvement.  [Read more at Delaware Online]