At Utah Therapeutic Health Center, we connect patients with qualified medical providers (QMPs) and assist them in obtaining their Medical Cannabis Cards. What you might not know is that state law has been crafted in such a way as to protect QMP integrity. In other words, the law dictates that a Qualified Medical Provider cannot do certain things.
It's not that lawmakers want to punish medical providers willing to participate in the state Medical Cannabis program. Rather, the goal is to protect them from conflicts of interest, liability issues, and more.
With these things in mind, here are four things your QMP cannot do:
State law creates a clear distinction between QMPs and Medical Cannabis pharmacies. Furthermore, pharmacies are kept distinctly separate from growing operations and processors. The separation prevents QMPs from acting as agents of Medical Cannabis pharmacies.
What is an agent? Someone who acts on behalf of an organization, in any capacity, to promote that organization's interests. That would include a business owner, sales representative, and even a third-party contractor who does work on the organization's behalf. In the simplest possible terms, your QMP cannot do any work for a Medical Cannabis pharmacy.
In addition to the prohibition against acting as a pharmacy agent, QMPs also cannot have a controlling interest in a pharmacy. State law defines a controlling interest as either a voting or financial interest equal to 2% or more of the total interest in a Medical Cannabis pharmacy business.
This prohibition clearly protects QMPs against conflicts of interest. By recommending Medical Cannabis and pointing you to a particular pharmacy, a QMP derives no tangible benefit. There is no incentive for the QMP to be partial.
Next, a QMP cannot direct or control a Medical Cannabis pharmacy's business. They cannot even attempt to influence management in order to exercise indirect control. Pharmacies must be free and independent of any and all QMP influence. In short, your QMP does not have any influence over a Medical Cannabis pharmacy's daily operations.
This last point may be somewhat confusing. Even though a QMP can charge a patient for services rendered during a visit, that same provider cannot receive any compensation from a cannabis production business, Medical Cannabis pharmacy, or another QMP in exchange for recommending cannabis to a patient.
Where cannabis production businesses and pharmacies are concerned, the prohibition extends beyond the legal entities to include owners, officers, directors, board members, employees, and agents.
This particular prohibition prevents QMPs from receiving kickbacks. Lawmakers do not want pharmacies paying QMPs for every referral they make to their establishment. They don't want processors paying QMPs to push their products. The overall goal is to keep everything above board at all times.
Now that you know the four things a Qualified Medical Provider cannot do under state law, you should probably know what they can do. A QMP can sit with you and discuss your qualifying medical condition to see if a Medical Cannabis recommendation is appropriate. They can review your health history for the same purposes.
A QMP can recommend Medical Cannabis and assist you in filling out and submitting your application form. They can also provide follow-up visits to recommend your Medical Cannabis Card be renewed when required.
While there are a few ways Utah restricts what QMPs can do, your QMP is still an essential part of your cannabis treatment plan.