By Fred Gardner   At the Medical Board of California’s July 29 meeting, Stephen Robinson, MD, read aloud a letter from the SCC to the Journal of the American Medical Association, exposing as misleading an op-ed that JAMA recently published online. The “Viewpoint” essay by Humayon Chaudry, DO and colleagues —which will appear in a future print edition of JAMA—purports to summarize the “model guidelines” that the Federation of State Medical Boards is pushing its members to adopt. (Chaudhry is president and CEO of the FSMB.)  Two members of the California board —Executive Director Kim Kirchmayer and Howard Krauss, MD— were part of the working group that drafted the FSMB guidelines.

Dr. Robinson noted that the JAMA version would constrict cannabis clinicians more severely than the proposed FSMB guidelines. After Robinson’s presentation, Kirchmayer and Krauss both told him they had been unaware of Chaudhry’s sleight-of-hand maneuver.

Your correspondent also made some points to the board, criticizing the use of algorithms (based on number of patients approved and/or number of plants authorized) to trigger investigations of cannabis clinicians by state medical boards.

I also speculated on why Dr. Chaudhry had “punched it up,” as they say in Hollywood, sending JAMA an even more restrictive policy than the FSMB had approved. I cited the expose by John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel revealing that a decade ago the FSMB was funded by manufacturers of synthetic opioids to push “model guidelines” that would ease restrictions on the prescribing of Oxycontin et al.  The FSMB sought $3.1 million in contributions from Big PhRMA to promote that campaign.

Dr. Perry Solomon of Hello MD phoned in to urge the board not to restrict the use of telemedicine in issuing mj approvals.

Both Dr. Robinson and I were heartened by the informal conversations we had with board members, and think there’s a chance the SCC will be consulted if and when the MBC revises its current policy re medical marijuana approvals.