Mercy, CoxHealth announces they will not prescribe medical marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Mercy and CoxHealth announced Thursday its doctors will not prescribe medical marijuana prescriptions.

Mercy said in a statement its doctors will not be "recommending medical marijuana treatment" for its patients.

"Mercy believes there is insufficient medical and scientific research on the benefits and risks of cannabis products as part of medical treatment," it said.

CoxHealth spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said the hospital's care for it's patients will not change, regardless of testing positive for medical marijuana.

CoxHealth said in a statement, "will not be certifying patients as having a qualifying medical condition for use of medical marijuana"

"CoxHealth recognizes that Missouri law allows marijuana to be used by individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions. At the same time, the use and possession of marijuana is still prohibited by federal law. This conflict between state and federal laws creates a tremendous dilemma for our organization," the statement said.

Dr. Gil Mobley works at Dr.Gil's Immediate Care in Springfield. He authorized medical cannabis to his patients when he worked in Washington state. Mobley said he wasn't surprised by the hospitals' decision.

"No other states or other big systems are allowing their practitioners to do that," he said.

Mobley says he has met with doctors to let them know they can confidently refer their patients to him if they are looking for medical cannabis authorization.

"This morning I asked a neurologist, I said are your patients asking you about cannabis, he goes 'oh my gosh all of them," Mobley said.

He said not everyone who walks in his door will qualify for medical cannabis authorization.

"The bar is high to qualify to even be invited to this clinic," Mobley said. "You have to have current medical record that your situation is severe, and that's a qualifying diagnosis, it's gotta be current and on going, and refractory to current drugs, or there are problems with current drugs, and that's documented."

He said like Mercy and CoxHealth, he will not recommend it, but he will authorize it.

"I don't call it a recommendation," Mobley said. "I can't recommend somebody use something that's federally against the law, but I can authorize them to get out of trouble in the court of law if they got in trouble using this substance medically."

Missouri became the 33rd state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2018. Marijuana isn't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government classifies it as an illegal drug. There are no federally approved standard dosages or safety testing and no insurance coverage. All that is leading some doctors to shy away from certifying patients.

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