Recommending Cannabis in Maryland

Natalie M. LaParade Program:

Update: physician application forms are now available on the Commission website.

Under HB 881, Maryland physicians must register with the Commission and apply for the specific qualifying medical conditions they wish to recommend for. Physician applications must include a proposal for their treatment plan, including: (1) reasons for including a patient in the program; (2) reasons to exclude a patient from the program; (3) the physician's plan for screening for drug dependence; and (4) the physician's plan for follow up care with the patient. The Commission is encouraged to approve treatment plans for the following medical conditions:

(1) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in a patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care; or

(2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces:

 (i) cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome;

 (ii) severe or chronic pain;

 (iii) severe nausea;

 (iv) seizures; or

 (v) severe or persistent muscle spasms. 

Final rules were approved by the State of Maryland in September 2015.

Affirmative Defense:

Under Maryland's affirmative defense for possession and use of medical marijuana, there are no specific qualifying conditions, but patients must be able to show documented medical necessity, such as a written recommendation from their physician. Physicians do not need any approval from the Commission in order to recommend under the affirmative defense, but such a recommendation will not allow patients to enroll in the Commission program. There is no official form to fill out or special guidelines for Maryland physician to follow in order to recommend medical marijuana to a patient in order to establish an affirmative defense for that patient. Physicians can create their own forms or may base one off of this this form used by California physicians.