Smoke signals

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 12, 2012


There is also some amount of ass-covering behind the MMS concerns. In particular, physicians don't want to end up in front of the state's Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM), facing possible fines or license suspension, for improper distribution of medical-marijuana certificates.

According to MMS, current BORIM guidelines would make it effectively unethical for physicians to give medical-marijuana certificates to patients, under the definition of "bona fide physician-patient relationship," a term used in the new law's language.

As it happens, BORIM is yet another part of DPH in a state of flux — three of the seven board seats are vacant, and the other four were all newly appointed in the past two years; the executive director has just resigned.

There are signs that the Patrick administration is using this turnover to move BORIM in a more patient-centered direction, after years of criticism that it is overly influenced by physicians — and MMS specifically. That sense was heightened at last Wednesday's BORIM meeting, where chair Candace Lapidus Sloane gave a speech about the Board's mission, focusing on protecting the public, ensuring that all physicians are of "good moral character," and achieving full transparency.

That might suggest more broadly that the DPH might not be ready to accede to the new MMS demands on medical marijuana regulations. For the moment, of course, that's just reading tea (or perhaps other) leaves.


For more on changes at BORIM, see the Talking Politics blog:

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