Of the roughly 16,000 doctors who treat patients in Maryland only 172 of them have registered to be able to recommend medical marijuana to their patients under Maryland’s medical cannabis law.
As can be imagined, if that number stays the same it will mean that many patients who need medical marijuana in Maryland will not be able to get access to it.
"Clearly there are not going to be enough physicians, given the level of demand anticipated," said Gene Ransom, CEO of MedChi, the state's professional association for physicians.
"That's going to create a problem."
Several factors contribute to this shortage, including fear of federal law and restrictions embedded in the program itself. Many of those restrictions come from the fear of authorities that recreational users might somehow gain access to medical marijuana; as if that has ever been a valid reason to deny a single sick person the choice of cannabis when it comes to their treatment.
Fortunately, the number of doctors registering for the program is expected to rise somewhat as more information about the medical properties of cannabis is disseminated ahead of the program’s official launch next year.
Hopefully Maryland doesn’t end up as an example of how not to set up a medical marijuana program. Focus when it comes to medical cannabis should always be on helping as many patients as possible, not on throwing up walls in a vain attempt to keep “recreational” users from getting legal access. All those walls do is keep patients from a legal supply and send them to the black market for their medicine.
Of course, if any adult could walk into a retail shop and purchase marijuana, or if they could grow their own at home, there wouldn’t be much worry about how many doctors are allowed to hand out permission slips for what substances people can put in their own bodies.