Cap on Medical Marijuana Patients Lifted
The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners is lifting the cap on how many medical marijuana patients a doctor can treat. Previously doctors were limited to 100 patients a year. Medical Marijuana expert and prescriber Dr. Victor Chou, one of only three or four dozen in the state, says this will dramatically increase access to the treatment for those who are eligible.
“The fact that physicians like myself who are actively involved will be allowed to help as many patients as possible really does allow patients to access this program.”
The state expanded the number of illnesses that qualify for medical marijuana treatment in the last regular legislative session.
Chou estimates about 50 doctors are participating in the program in Louisiana, which is a bit lower than the number of doctors who participate in other states who have legalized the practice. But he says he expects that number to balloon now that the practice is profitable.
“This 100 patient cap was really keeping a lot of doctors out of participating, because they couldn’t make a living only seeing 100 patients a year.”
Medical marijuana is currently being grown in the state by GB Sciences, which is working with LSU to produce the oil and pill based treatment.
The cap vote was decided eight to one, but another medical cannabis based regulation passed along a much tighter five to four line. That decision removes the need for medical marijuana patients to see their doctor every 90 days to maintain their treatment. But Chou says since the “prescriptions” only last 30 days, they’ll be in frequent communication with their doctor regardless.
“By definition you’re going to be communicating with these patients, whether it be by phone, email, or skype, every month or so.”
To get access to the treatment, a patient is given a physician recommendation form, because technically prescriptions are still illegal under federal laws.