A Florida House Committee has unanimously approved a measure that would allow the use of telehealth in certain aspects of cannabis treatment. Bill HB 387 would make it possible for doctors to use telehealth to renew their patients’ medical cannabis approvals. According to sponsor Rep Spencer Roach, the bill would treat medical cannabis like any other pharmaceutical.
Venice-based physician Dr. Barry Gordon told the House Health Care Regulation Subcommittee before the vote that leveraging telehealth to renew medical cannabis certifications would benefit the most vulnerable Floridians.
As dozens of states have legalized marijuana for medical use, millions of people across the country have signed up for medical cannabis access. A large portion of these medical cannabis patients (32.5%) are aged 50 to 64 years of age, and medical cannabis use among older people has been steadily increasing as the drug loses its stigma.
Cannabis is also effective against conditions that tend to affect older people, including chronic pain from arthritis, insomnia, mood disorders and cancer-related symptoms. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, several states across the United States approved cannabis home delivery to protect vulnerable and immunocompromised patients and limit their exposure to infection.
Gordon, who specializes in medical cannabis treatment, noted that medical marijuana patients tend to be the weakest and most debilitated in Florida. The new bill is meant to protect such patients from potential exposure to diseases on top of reducing treatment costs for patients.
Florida law currently requires that doctors must be “physically present in the same room as the patient” to conduct a physical examination and provide a medical cannabis prescription. Although Governor Ron DeSantis suspended this requirement temporarily during the pandemic, it was only available for patients who were renewing their certifications at a physician they had seen before.
Some physicians have continued to use telehealth in medical cannabis treatment even though the governor’s order expired in mid-2021.
If the measure is signed into law, it will give the Department of Health the power to ban physicians from providing and renewing medical cannabis certifications for up to two years if they “provide, advertise or market” medical cannabis telehealth services before July 1, 2023.
Roach noted that the Department of Health is currently required to pass complaints regarding medical marijuana physicians to its Division of Medical Quality Assurance, which can be quite a long process. His measure would provide the state agency with a “necessary and immediate tool” to help it deal with doctors who break medical cannabis rules.
As the users of medical marijuana increase by the day, another noteworthy trend is the increasing amount of R&D work being undertaken by for-profit entities such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) in a bid to commercialize pharmaceutical-grade. cannabis-based formulations that meet the strict requirements of the FDA.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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