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Medical marijuana is not a prescription drug



marijuana is a drug, but not a "drug"

I will be a little wonky here, carry with me.

Standard household insurance policy explicitly mentions the word "marijuana" once: to exclude it from liability insurance. In principle, the policy states that the insurer will not pay any bodily injury or property damage to another person arising from any controlled substance, including marijuana.

But there is an interesting wrinkle for this. The exclusion also states: "However, this exclusion does not apply to the legitimate use of prescription drugs by a person following orders from a licensed physician."

"Wait," you say. "Is there no conflict here? Wouldn't the insurance cover be damaged from medical marijuana, because it is prescription drug?"

Sorry to count on your parade, but the answer is no.

All together now: Medical marijuana is not a prescription drug

You can be forgiven for believing that medical marijuana is a prescription drug. After all, it is often described by the news worldwide: Wall Street Journal New York Times Washington Post etc.

But medical marijuana is not a prescription drug under any state's current medical marijuana program.

Doctors "do not prescribe" marijuana as they do painkillers and other drugs. Rather, doctors will "certify", "recommend" or "approve" (the exact formulation is due to the state) that a patient qualifies under a state program to buy marijuana products. Often, this qualification depends on whether a patient suffers from any of the "qualifying conditions" ̵

1; which vary by state.

With a "recommendation" in the hand, the patient can then buy medical marijuana products from a dispenser, subject to various state-specific limitations (such as how much marijuana they can buy in a given month).

"Recipe", on the other hand, has some significance. The Kansas City Medical Society notes that medical drugs are supported by years of study that can provide guidelines for dosages and care plans. U.S. The Food and Drug Administration regulates these drugs. Patients with prescriptions receive these drugs from a certified pharmacist.

Not so with marijuana. Although some states require medical advice, these are not well understood. The FDA has "not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication." Medical marijuana dispensers are not pharmacies. They do not use pharmacists. The people who sell marijuana are basically like knowledgeable sommeliers at a fancy liquor store.

As we saw above, this difference has insurance implications. As another example, consider work compensation insurance : Pay these policies for an injured worker's medical marijuana? The answer is much more complicated than you would think.

Once again: medical marijuana is not a prescription drug.


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