PracticeLink Magazine

Spring 2019

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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40 S PRIN g 2019 PracticeLink.com ▼ T HE J O b S E A r CH ISSUE D E P A R T M E N T S Reform Recap J e FF a TKINS o N The challenges of medical marijuana laws State laws have become more liberal while federal laws are strict. Physicians should be aware of professional guidelines for prescribing marijuana. WIT h IN T he L a ST Y ear , 1 2 or M ore ST a T e S ha V e re VIS e D T he I r M ar IJU a N a L a WS or are co NSID er ING D o ING S o . As of 2018, 31 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, had "comprehensive public medical marijuana cannabis programs." The criteria for a comprehensive program, as specified by the National Conference of State Legislatures and other organizations, are: 1 Protection from criminal penalties for using marijuana for a medical purpose 2 Access to marijuana through home cultivation, dispensaries or some other system that is likely to be implemented 3 Allowing access to a variety of strains, including those more than "low T h C" 4 Allowing either smoking or vaporization of some kind of marijuana products, plant material or extract In addition, 15 states allow use of low T h C, high cannabidiol (CBD) products for medical reasons or allow limited defenses. These 15 states are not considered to have "comprehensive" programs. Recreational use Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. The liberalization of state marijuana laws corresponds with public opinion. A 2018 poll by Quinnipiac University indicates that 93 percent of American voters favored legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, and 63 percent favored legalization of marijuana without additional restraints. Federal laws are more restrictive Although state laws regarding marijuana use have become more permissive, federal laws have not. The federal Controlled Substances Act, passed in 1970, is still on the books. That law was passed as part of President Richard Nixon's War on Drugs. Under the law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means, from the perspective of the federal government, marijuana "has a high potential for abuse" and "the drug or other

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