woman smoking a marijuana cigarette Although the conditions for prescribing medical marijuanadiffer from state to state, there are many similarities. (Photo:Shutterstock)

The industry is in a haze, and it’s from marijuana— legalized medical marijuana. So many questionsand not enough answers when it comes to established claimsguidelines for reimbursement:

  • Is cannabis falling into the abyss of the property and casualtyclaims payment systems?
  • What do claims professionals do when they encounter a medicalbill for cannabis?
  • Why are there are no valid codes for submission for payment inthe Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), Healthcare CommonProcedural Coding System (HCPCS) or National Drug Code (NDC) formedical marijuana?

There actually is an answer to the last question because theFood and Drug Administration (FDA) still classifies medical marijuana as a Schedule I drug. The FDAhas not approved marijuana as a safe and effective drug for anyindication (FDA, 2017). Its classification as a Schedule I drugunder the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 indicates thatmarijuana has a high potential for abuse, does not currently havean accepted medical use and has a lack of accepted safety for useunder medical supervision. Other Schedule I drugs include heroinand hallucinogens like LSD.

Legalization in the U.S.

At the state level, there are currently 29 states plus theDistrict of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana(ProCon.Org, 2017). They are:

  • Alaska*
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California*
  • Colorado*
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine*
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts*
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington*
  • West Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

Of these states, seven have also legalized marijuana forrecreational use in addition to medical marijuana.

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