Missouri is beginning the process to revise its rules for the state’s medical marijuana program.
The Department of Health and Senior Services will post drafts of revised rules on its website for public comment before it files the rules, according to a news release.
Proposed new rules would include how complaints against physicians are handled.
“Complaints shall include the name and address of the physician against whom the complaint is made and a clear description of what violation the complainant believes the physician has committed,” a proposed change states.
The new rule also would require the director of the medical marijuana program to determine whether an investigation is warranted. DHSS may also initiate investigations.
Once investigations are completed, DHSS is to notify the physicians of any departmental actions.
Investigations may lead to the DHSS director dismissing the complaint, referring it to the Board of Registration for Healing Arts, referring it to law enforcement or refusing to accept any (medical marijuana) certifications from the physician for a “reasonable period of time.”
How long the DHSS refuses the certifications depends on whether the physician acted recklessly or knowingly violated a rule or law, the degree of imminent danger to the patient, the degree of falsification of a physician certification, whether the department has previously received substantiated complaints against the physician and any aggravating circumstances.
Physicians may ask for a hearing to appeal the department’s decision.
The draft rules and suggestion forms may be found at health.mo.gov/safety/medical-marijuana/draft-rules.php.
DHSS has also posted new “frequently asked questions” to address rumors and misinformation regarding implementation of the medical marijuana program. They may be found at medicalmarijuana.mo.gov.
The questions revolve around implementation of the program, the scoring process and any potential conflicts.
Among the answers, the DHSS notes it did not begin work on the program until after voters passed the amendment in November 2018.
The FAQ page also states licensees may apply for department approval to change a facility location. Applicants must submit documentation supporting the request. DHSS will determine whether the new site would have received a similar score in blind scoring used to choose locations. Requests for transfers of licenses to new entities must wait until 2021.
“The most common reason for a facility receiving different scores for the same or similar response is because the responses were submitted as part of different facility type applications and thus scored by different individuals,” the FAQ page states. “For example, if an applicant submitted the same or similar response to a question in a cultivation application as they did in a dispensary application, the cultivation response would have been graded by one person and the dispensary response would have been graded by a different person.”
Asked if Wise Health Solutions — the organization that conducted the blind scoring process for medical marijuana applicants — had any conflicts of interest, the DHSS FAQ page says the department “investigated specific and general claims and in all cases, found no evidence Wise Health Solutions had any relationships or business dealings that would have presented a conflict of interest under the contract.”