DHSS Anounces Changes to Patient Certification Process see more
DHSS Anounces Changes to Physician Certification Process
Missouri's medical marijuana patients who've attempted to read their doctor's handwritten certification form will no longer have to worry. Relief is on the way.
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is rolling out the final phase of its online system for electronic physician certification for submission of medical marijuana patients information.
Patients will no longer be able to submit manual (paper) certification forms.
That option will be removed from the MyComplia website portal where patients apply for Missouri's Medical Marijuana Patient Certification ID card.
The department regulators began contacting physicians in January to explain the upcoming changes and to offer training on the new capabilities of the online system.
Electronic submission of physician certification information will end instances of certification fraud that have occurred where patients submitted forms with invalid physician signatures.
More Security for Physicians
The new procedure offers a secure account for physicians.Their identity will be verified by the Department at the time of account creation. The physician’s current license will also be validated at the time of application review.
Lyndall Fraker, (Photo) director of the DHSS Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation said in a statement, “This new process will provide an opportunity for more direct communication between certifying physicians and the Department, which will strengthen this partnership in the shared goal of creating a safe and secure program for Missouri medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.
We have received significant positive feedback from physicians and patients about this improvement in application processes and appreciate their input and cooperation during this transition.”
Pursuant to Missouri law, a physician certification form for a medical marijuana patient applicant must be completed and signed by a Missouri licensed physician who is active and in good standing to practice medicine or osteopathy.
Patients and physicians are encouraged to contact the Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation with questions or if assistance is needed.
Additional information will be posted at medicalmarijuana.mo.gov.
DHSS state regulators cannot keep information from medical marijuana license applications secret see more
Another Legal Blow For DHSS
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), which regulates Missouri's medical marijuana program was dealt another legal blow in a ruling by the Western District Court of Appeals on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The court said state regulators cannot keep information from medical marijuana license applications secret.
DHSS wants to keep all data from the medical marijuana applications and the resulting scores of those applicants confidential. The department has maintained that the law passed by voters in 2018, now Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, ensures the confidentiality of license applicants and licensees information.
Kings Garden Midwest, a California-based cannabis cultivator, is one of the more than 800 denied applicants who have filed lawsuits against DHSS. In their lawsuit they argued the state’s scoring process was “arbitrary and capricious in that other applicants were awarded more points for the same and/or similar answers provided by Kings Garden.”
The company is requesting application information from other successful applicants in their challenge of DHSS' license denial. They hope to prove that DHSS had no basis for denying their license if there were no significant differences to answers on their applications versus other applications from approved licensees.
The Court of Appeals said it would be “unreasonable and absurd” to keep the applications secret from companies trying to determine why their applications to grow, distribute or sell marijuana were denied.
“Because applications are not judged solely on their own merits but are ranked competitively against other applications, the only way to determine whether the Department denied Kings Garden’s applications in an arbitrary or capricious manner is to compare its applications against information from those of successful applicants,” stated in the court's ruling.
DHSS will continue to fight this ruling all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Lyndall Fraker, Director of Medical Marijuana Regulation in Missouri, estimated to a House panel in March 2021, the department will spend at least $12.4 million fighting legal challenges to applications in the coming year.
House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith of Carthage stated the initial license caps imposed by the department has resulted in the subsequent legal challenges and the “staggering” legal fees, higher product prices, and an unfilled demand for cannabis product that encourages the thriving black market. Cody suggested that by issuing more licenses the department could put an end to the ongoing legal costs.
Fraker disagreed during his testimony indicating additional licensees would force the state to spend more to regulate the industry. He also said an overabundant legal supply could create a black market.
Out of the more than 2100 applications received for Missouri's medical marijuana program, a total of 853 administrative appeals had been filed against the state by denied applicants. DHSS indicated that 785 remained unresolved at the beginning of the 4th quarter 2020.
David Bennett posted an articleThe reason why cannabis licenses are limited see more
The Economics of Scarcity
The artificial creation of the scarcity of facility licenses increased their value exponentially and created a parallel “license economy” outside of the normal business activity of producing and distributing products and serving customers. Demand outstripped supply of available licenses ten to one. While the normal economic response to scarcity is for the price to go up and the scarce resource is allocated to the buyer willing to pay the most, this was an intentionally created scarcity that the buyers competed for, not by willingness to pay more but by participating in a beauty contest in an idiotic competitive scoring system and 500 page applications.
348 licenses that were granted immediately became worth millions of dollars each. At least a half a billion dollars in wealth was created out of thin air before the first seed sprouted.
The scarcity of licenses is a permanent feature of the cannabis market prescribed in Article 14. With the state having a complete corner on the market for licenses, they control the supply and therefore the price of cannabis products. Businesses must compete for the scarce licenses in whatever manner the department chooses. Every license is in some sense a monopoly and a grant of market share.
The market conditions created by the scarcity of licenses makes the application process a high risk, high reward endeavor and raises the “bar of entry” too high for most normal businesses. There is no advantage for the patients for there to be a scarcity of licenses and a lack of competition. The scarcity of licenses does nothing to protect the health and safety of society, and in fact, undermines the public confidence in government and the industry by providing opportunities for corruption and patronage politics.
Don't let this medical marijuana certification scam happen to you! see more
Keep on the lookout for medical marijuana scams!
The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to be cautious working with MoGreenCard.com, a medical marijuana consulting company based out of O'Fallon, Mo.
The bureau gave MoGreenCard.com an 'F' rating, which is the lowest on the BBB's scale. Several recent unanswered complaints and negative customer reviews led the organization to give the consulting company the rating.
Consumers have reported to the bureau that MoGreenCard.com failed to file paperwork with the state on their behalf, did not issue refunds when requested to do so, failed to communicate, and provided poor customer service. These customers paid anywhere from $200 to $300 for medical evaluations. Reports to the BBB included medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and home cultivator patients who were all scammed.
In Missouri, physician certifications are only valid for 30 days, and some consumers reported that their documents expired before paperwork was finished. That meant they had to pay to get another certification to complete the process.
DHSS and the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association have a few suggestions to avoid Missouri Marijuana Patient certification scams. Remember these guidelines:
Conduct a Primary Source Verification of the Physician
Every medical doctor (MD) or osteopath (OD) must be licensed and listed in the Missouri Division of Professional Registration in order to provide you with a Medical Marijuana Certification. Ask the certification provider for the full name and license number of the doctor giving the certification. You can then verify their current license at the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.
Verify the Medical Marijuana Certification Company
Your best source for selecting a legitimate company is to ask friends or colleagues who are patient cardholders for a recommendation. Medical marijuana certification companies will usually hire doctors on a contractual basis to conduct patient evaluations. Your doctor may be legitimate, but he or she could just be an employee who gets compensated at a predetermined rate per patient. The certification company handles the payments, marketing, business expenses, HIPPA compliance, patient records security, transaction fees, and a host of other business related tasks where fraud could take place.
Check with the Better Business Bureau, online medical cannabis groups, or past customers to see if there are any complaints or problems with past evaluations. If something doesn't seem right, it's better to move on to another company for your medical marijuana certification.
A medical marijuana certification online or in person should follow specific procedures.
When your doctor conducts your evaluation, make sure that you are receiving a thorough examination. The doctor should inquire about your medical condition and ask you for detailed information about your condition.
If your evaluation feels too quick or rushed, then it means that your doctor is probably not complying with the Medical Board’s guidelines. A 5-minute evaluation doesn’t typically represent a legitimate evaluation for a physician’s certification of a patient.
Contact MCIA for more information.