Under a recent change to the medical marijuana law in Maine, nurse practitioners are now permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from certain medical conditions. Before this change in the law, only physicians were allowed to prescribe medical marijuana in Maine.
Physicians and nurse practitioners are permitted to recommend marijuana to patients who suffer from certain medical conditions approved by the State, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, and post-traumatic stress disorder. On , the Department of Health and Human Services held a public hearing on the issue of whether Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) should be added as a qualifying condition for the medical use of marijuana.
A patient who has been legally certified by their treating provider (physician or nurse practitioner) will be allowed to grow their own marijuana for medicinal purposes, or to obtain marijuana from a marijuana dispensary. Certification requires that a patient has had a continuous relationship with their medical provider for at least six months prior to the certification.
The law does not permit medical providers to assist a patient with obtaining, cultivating, or using the marijuana.
Advocates of medical marijuana believe that the new law will be of particular help to rural Mainers, many of whom treat with nurse practitioners, not physicians.
It is important to note that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, despite its legalization in many states. Because of this conflict in the laws, there may still be many medical providers who are reluctant to recommend marijuana to their patients.