A ‘Niche Business’: Mainstream Doctors Are Wary Of Prescribing Medical Marijuana

MASSACHUSETTS: Looking for a medical marijuana prescription? Your general practitioner probably won’t help you get it.

Most doctors aren’t approved to certify Massachusetts residents as medical-marijuana patients, which is the first step toward receiving legal marijuana from one of the state’s two open dispensaries. In fact, there are only 108 certified doctors in the entire state.

Because of the prevailing stigma among general practitioners, prescribing medical cannabis is a niche business for many clinics. Those who certify patients say it’s a “specialty medicine,” similar to a podiatrist, chiropractor or ear-nose-and-throat doctor. But some experts are concerned that this system encourages a culture of drive-by doctors who prescribe marijuana on an a la carte basis, rather than in the context of a valid doctor-patient relationship.