Provider FAQ

Do providers have a state and federal constitutional defense to any interference from federal authorities for advising patients about medical marijuana?


​Yes. A federal appellate court, in a ruling left standing by the Supreme Court in 2002, enjoined the federal government from either revoking a provider's license to prescribe controlled substances or conducting an investigation of a physician that might lead to such revocation, where the basis for the government's action is solely the physician's professional recommendations of the use of medical marijuana. - Conant v. Walters, 309 F. 3d 629, 633-634 (9 Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 946 (2003).

As per federal constitutional law, doctor-patient consultations are absolutely protected from federal or state interference or punishment as a matter of the fundamental right to free speech.​

What are my responsibilities to my patients who want medical cannabis?


​A provider's professional obligations to prospective medical cannabis patients are not different from those for any other patient. A provider is not required to qualify a patient for medical cannabis. The provider is expected to assess a patient’s medical history and medical condition, and recommend treatment that they think is appropriate.​

What must I do to register with the Commission?


Providers must register on the Commission’s website in order to provide patient certifications.  Registration must be renewed every two years.  

During registration, you will need to provide your Maryland Board license number, your CDS number, specify the conditions or diseases that you plan to treat, and any criteria for including or excluding patients.

What are the general legal standards for determining if a patient qualifies for medical cannabis?


​You and the patient must have a “bona fide provider-patient relationship.” The patient’s condition must be severe, other medical treatments have been ineffective, and the symptoms reasonably can be expected to be relieved by the medical use of cannabis.​

What is a “bona fide provider-patient relationship?”


​Maryland law defines this term. Essentially it is a treatment or counseling relationship between a provider and patient in which the provider reviews the patient’s relevant medical records, completes an in person assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, creates and maintains medically standardized records, expects to monitor patient program and takes any medically indicated action to follow up.​

Are there conditions that qualify for treatment with medical cannabis?


​Yes, if the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care. 

If the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes: cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective.

If I have a patient I think would benefit from medical cannabis, what do I do?


​Once you determine that your patient’s treatment, disease, or medical condition qualifies him or her for medical cannabis, you or your staff will go to the Commission website to issue your patient a “written certification.”​

What information will be contained on the written certification?


​Patient name, address, date of birth, physician’s name, the date of patient qualification, and medical condition(s).​

How often should a provider follow-up with a patient?


​A provider should direct a patient to follow-up as often as medically appropriate. 

At minimum, the provider must perform an in-person, evaluation once every 365 days.

Can a provider revoke a patient’s certification?


Yes, a provider may amend or revoke a certification on any medical grounds or if the patient no longer meets the physician’s inclusion criteria or the patient now meets the provider’s exclusion criteria. 

Two examples of exclusion criteria are that the provider suspects that the patient is abusing cannabis or the patient is diverting cannabis to others.​

Will the Commission make a list of certifying providers available to the public?


You can find a list of certified providers here​

Are the provider registry and patient registry linked?


​Yes, the MMCC database system links the provider and patient registries through the written certifications. Each patient may only have one written certification and one certifying provider at a time. A certifying provider may terminate a written certification.

Does the provider have to be registered as a certifying provider before the patient visit in order to provide a written certification for the patient?


​A provider must be registered as a certifying provider before providing a qualifying patient with a written certification. The process for a provider registering with MMCC as a certifying provider can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. 

Does the patient need to be registered before the patient visit in order to obtain a written certification for the patient?


​Yes, the patient must submit an application to MMCC in order to register before a physician can provide a written certification for the patient. 

Are there limits to “the reasons the provider may deny issuing a written certification of medical cannabis” (COMAR (5))?


One obvious reason that the provider may deny issuing a written certification is that the condition with which the patient presents is outside  the field of practice and specialty of the provider. A reason that a provider may specify as an exclusion criterion, and terminate a written certification is that the provider has, in the course of education and research, determined that medical cannabis is not an appropriate for the patient. 

A provider is free to define their exclusion criteria as narrowly or broadly as they deem appropriate for their practice.

Can a Maryland Board take action against my Maryland medical license if I become a certifying provider and recommend medical cannabis for patients?


​No, a Maryland Board cannot take any such action and is prohibited by law from doing so as long as the provider is practicing with the parameters outlined under the State's Medical Cannabis Program. ​