Starting this week, a whole new group of medical providers will be able to prescribe pot to their patients in Maine. Starting August 1, 2014 nurse practitioners will be added to the list along with doctors.
Jay Reighley has been a nurse practitioner for 30 years. She believes medical marijuana is an effective medicine, and wants the chance to offer it to her patients. “The physician will no longer be the only one able to certify,” she said, “and I can complete the interaction with my patients.”
Medical marijuana advocates believe this new law will help rural Mainers, many of whom don’t have access to doctors, but do see nurse practitioners.
“Many people in Maine use a nurse practitioner as their primary care provider,” said Becky Dekesuter, a teacher that works for Wellness Connection, a company that operates four medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine. “And if they can prescribe drugs, it makes a whole lot of sense to add this to their list of abilities,” she said.
But just because they can, doesn’t mean they will. Pot is still illegal under federal law, which will likely keep the number of providers low, at least at first.
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