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We’re glad to see that our local hospitals are taking a cautious approach toward implementing Missouri’s new medical marijuana law.

Voters last November approved the legalization of medical marijuana, but there’s still confusion about implementation of the process.

As we reported Sunday, Capital Region Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital and JCMG are still not certifying patients to get the drug.

Capital Region is still thoroughly evaluating the new law so it can establish policies that align with the health care providers’ publications to provide safe, effective health care. St. Mary’s officials have asked their Mid-Missouri physicians to refrain from certifying patients until a systemwide policy is in place. JCMG is completing an internal review process.

MU Health Care also said its physicians are not completing the certification forms for people to get marijuana yet.

Normally, the implementation of a law needs to be done quicker. However, this is no normal law. It was an initiative petition that legalized a street drug that is typically smoked. It was approved by voters despite the fact it’s not considered medicine by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has received more than 3,000 applications for personal medical marijuana cards, and so far has approved more than 2,400.

However, patients will have to wait until at least early next year to purchase medical marijuana. That’s when dispensaries are expected to begin selling the drug, which has nicknames such as “chronic,” “kindbud” and “reefer.”

We encourage Mid-Missouri hospitals, physicians and health groups to take a slow, conservative approach toward implementing marijuana as medicine. Various legal ramifications exist, and improper implementation could lead to widespread abuse of something that, until recently, has been an illegal street drug.

News Tribune

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