Steve Robinson posed two questions after attending the New York State Medical Marijuana Commissioner’s online grand rounds October 30. Here they are, with answers from Misty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Your question: “As I also understand it, the health commissioner has stated that as long as the cannabis recommendations are part of the patients regular care, the evaluation should be covered by he patients insurance. Can you give me more information on this? Also, I believe Dr. Forde mentioned in her presentation that having a medical card for cannabis will protect cannabis patients from workplace discrimination and firing by employers. Can you clarify this for me?”
Answer: The Department of Financial Services issued guidance to health insurers regarding coverage for office visits related to medical marijuana. The guidance can be viewed from the following web page: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/about/press/pr1704121.htm
This guidance states that an insurer cannot deny coverage just because a doctor May provide a medical marijuana certification as part of an otherwise covered office visit.
Public Health Law § 3369 provides certain protections for certified patients and designated caregivers from “arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for the certified medical use of marihuana.” Employers may still require employees to be tested for controlled substances, including marijuana, to enforce policies prohibiting employees from performing their employment duties while impaired by a controlled substance.
If you have any other questions about the program, please contact the Medical Marijuana Program at email@example.com. Thank you.
• Your question: CALIFORNIA’S MEDICAL FRAMEWORK ALLOWS CERTIFIED PATIENTS TO GROW THEIR OWN MEDICINE. WOULD NEW YORK STATE CONSIDER THAT FOR QUALIFIED PATIENTS?
Answer: New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program continues to abide by the federal guidance set forth in the USDOJ’s Cole Memorandum, by administering a responsible medical marijuana program that observes sensible measures to protect public health and safety, and which are backed by meaningful regulation, oversight and enforcement.