Health Ministry clarifies requirement for prescribing medicinal ganja

by November 12th, 2017

The Health Ministry is seeking to clarify a misunderstanding within the public domain as to the legal requirements for prescribing ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes.

It says there is no requirement under the law requiring medical practitioners to undertake any training and or certification in order to prescribe ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes.

The clarification follows various statements that have been made over the last several months during the review and deliberations on the matter which have given a contrary impression.

In a statement this afternoon (Nov 12), the Health Ministry points out that the Dangerous Drugs Act provides, among other things, for the possession of ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes as prescribed, or recommended in writing, by a registered medical practitioner, or other health practitioner approved by the minister of health.

In other words, the only requirements are that the medical practitioner be registered with the medical council in accordance with the provisions of the medical act; and that other health practitioners be approved by the minister to prescribe ganja.

The ministry says it is of the view that training with regard to prescribing ganja for medical and therapeutic purposes, is desirable.

It says such training is desirable and recommended in light of the fact that this is a new area of practice for medical and health professionals, as well as in order to ensure that the prescribing of medical marijuana is done in keeping with relevant medical and public health standards.

Such training should be guided by the Medical Council of Jamaica.

The ministry says training courses recently conducted on medicinal marijuana were undertaken by a private entity, and were not done under the jurisdiction of the ministry.

The health ministry emphasises that its focus is on developing the relevant policy guidelines and regulations in relation to prescribing medicinal ganja, as stipulated under the relevant legislation.