The Simple Reason Medical Cannabis Cards Have to Be Renewed
Obtaining a medical cannabis card allows you to legally possess and use cannabis products in states that allow such use. Despite what you may think, medical cannabis cards are not issued in perpetuity. Like drivers’ licenses, they have to be renewed from time to time. There is a simple and easy reason explaining why this is.
Before getting to that reason, it should be understood that state laws vary in this regard. Utah is one of the most restrictive medical-only states in the country. State law dictates that a patient’s first medical cannabis card is only good for 90 days. It must be renewed for six months near the end of that 90-day period. One more six-month renewal must be obtained before a patient is eligible for a 12-month renewal.
How Cards Are Renewed
The way medical cannabis cards are renewed offers an explanation of why states have set things up the way they have. Again, Utah regulations force patients to pay a second visit to their qualified medical providers (QMPs) before renewal will be granted. Provo’s Deseret Wellness medical cannabis dispensary explains that a patient’s QMP does not have to be their GP or family doctor.
It is the QMPs responsibility to determine that the patient still presents with the qualifying condition that made them eligible in the first place. The QMP must also certify that medical cannabis continues to be an appropriate means of treating that particular patient. Sometimes it is not.
Prescriptions Are Not Indefinite
Knowing that patients must visit their doctors in order to obtain a renewal should make it easier to understand what is going on. States have created renewal requirements in order to ensure that medical cannabis is dispensed in a way that is similar to traditional prescription drugs.
Traditional prescriptions are not provided indefinitely. Even people taking medications prophylactically have to visit their physicians to obtain renewals. This is not a way for doctors to make money or give patients a hard time. It is a health and safety thing.
Imagine you are taking a prophylactic antibiotic as the result of a childhood bout with rheumatic fever. Also imagine that, by the time you reach thirty, your body has built up a resistance to that antibiotic. It would no longer protect you against future illness. You would need a new antibiotic to take its place. However, there would be no way for you and your doctor to know this without periodic exams.
Medicine Is Medicine
To critics who believe medical cannabis cards should not have to be renewed, there seems to be a difference between their drug of choice and every other prescription medication out there. But medicine is medicine. Anything that is used medically is subject to change based on patient health and response. And because people change, so do their medications.
As things currently stand, medical cannabis users actually have an edge over other patients in that they don’t actually have to get prescriptions. Medical cannabis cards are provided on a doctor’s recommendation. It is ultimately up to patient and medical cannabis pharmacist to determine dosage, delivery method, etc. When all is said and done, the patient is ultimately in control. That cannot be said about any other prescription medication.
Requiring that medical cannabis cards be renewed is a simple matter of keeping cannabis in line with other medicines. It is also smart idea. Medical professionals are in the best position to determine whether a particular drug remains appropriate for treatment. And so, most states with medical cannabis programs require renewal and periodic office visits.