According to the Boston Globe, there are worries about the “niche marketing” of medical practices in the Commonwealth who provide medical marijuana recommendations to sick people.
President of the state’s largest organization of doctors, Massachusetts Medical Society Dr. Ronald Dunlap, questioned the notion of doctors setting up businesses to supply access to marijuana, which he says creates a conflict of interest.
“The commercial part of this is way ahead of the curve,” Dunlap told the Boston Globe. “They rented office space before the regulations were even approved.”
Sixty-three percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 3 in 2012, legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Dispensaries are set to open in a matter of months.
While it is true a handful of doctor’s offices are opening in Massachusetts for the sole purpose of prescribing marijuana, the Boston Globe failed to mention that practices such as Integr8 of Burlington offer complementary health services such as acupuncture and do not exclusively recommend medical cannabis.
The demand for cannabis recommendations exists to fill a need in the market being left unfulfilled by traditional doctors. Few, if any, physicians in the Commonwealth outside of these pioneering doctors are willing to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. Why is this?
Doctors are being told by their employers not to recommend cannabis because it would be too risky to their practices. In many cases, these physicians are uneducated on cannabis medicines, particularly the endocannabinoid system, and they’re already not interested in taking the continuing education classes Massachusetts law requires them to take (and which haven’t been set up yet).
Alternatively, some doctors in the state are also members of the Massachusetts Medical Society, an organization that has tried to restrict access to patients, and a policy they have had since before the law passed and have continued ever since.
Doctors in Massachusetts beginning these practices are rushing to meet the oncoming demand, despite the professional stigma.