Governor signs law introducing new regulations for doctors to recommend medicinal cannabis and young adult patients

Democratic Governor Jared Polis signed Law HB 1317, which imposes new rules and restrictions on doctors who recommend medicinal cannabis and their patients.

Beginning January 1, 2022, recommending physicians must offer their patients specific cannabis dosage regimens, a requirement some legal experts speculate that physicians could conflict with federal laws. No other state requires doctors to provide patients with explicit cannabis treatment plans, and many have raised concerns about advising patients in this way.

It also requires health care providers to conduct a “mental history” assessment of patients, even when patients do not have any pre-existing or underlying mental health problems.

For patients between the ages of 18 and 20 who are looking for a first-time recommendation, the draft law provides that “two doctors from two different medical practices … diagnose a debilitating or disabling disease after a personal consultation with the patient”.

In addition, the amount of medical marijuana concentrates a patient can legally purchase in a day is limited to 8 grams for adults or 2 grams for 18-20 year olds. To ensure compliance with these new daily limits, the state is introducing a new tracking system to monitor purchases of medical cannabis. These purchase limit changes will also take effect on January 1st.

The law also provides funding for the Colorado School of Public Health to study the health effects of so-called “high potency THC” products and make recommendations. What exactly defines such a product is not defined by law. By July 1, 2022, the researchers are tasked with making legislative recommendations for regulating these products. However, these recommendations must “not contain any additional criminal penalties in connection with the consumption of marijuana concentrate” [or] Possession … or new crimes related to using concentrated marijuana [or] Possession.”

The measure rejected by NORML was supported by a number of anti-cannabis organizations, including those who speak out publicly against the use of cannabis herb as a therapeutic treatment in all situations.

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