HIPAA, Cannabis Compliance and the Missouri Medical Marijuana Program
Missouri has a medical marijuana program that allows individuals with specific medical conditions to apply for a medical marijuana license.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, qualifying medical conditions include those such as cancer, glaucoma, human immunodeficiency virus, and epilepsy. The webpage also provides information on how qualifying patients can complete an online application, and the information that they need to provide. This information includes, but is not limited to, a physician certificate form, an attestation statement, and other personal information.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that provides individuals with privacy standards. These standards protect one’s medical information and records.
Greenway, a Missouri Cannabis Industry Publication, presents HIPPA considerations with medical cannabis. According to the report, the medical marijuana regulations promulgated by Missouri require that patients provide personal health information. As discussed above, this information includes what is stated on the Missouri department of Health and Senior Services website.
The issue is whether dispensaries, which must maintain the confidentiality of all qualified patients and caregiver dates, are subject to HIPAA oversight. There is no conclusive answer to the question, but the publication does indicate that “it seems likely.”
If dispensaries are subject to HIPAA oversight, they would be prohibited from disclosing a patient’s and caregivers personal information, such as their name, birth date, social security number, and other such information. As a result, dispensaries may want to become familiar with HIPAA and its requirements.
Although medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, doctors in the state are against certifying medical marijuana for patients. According to a news report by St. Louis Public Radio, “[Some doctors] have refused, citing a lack of clinical evidence on medical marijuana’s safety and effectiveness and that the federal government still classifies it as illegal.”
All information is for general informational and educational purposes only. Nothing should be interpreted as legal or medical advice.