Since Minnesota passed a medical cannabis law in 2014, MHA members have had
numerous questions regarding how hospitals and health care facilities will care
for patients who possess or use medical cannabis. This is a complicated
issue for our members because federal law, CMS regulations, accrediting
organizations’ requirements and Minnesota’s new law do not clearly align with
In the 2015 legislative session, MHA worked to secure an amendment to
Minnesota’s medical cannabis statute to extend state law protections and
immunities to employees of hospitals and clinics when providing care to a
patient on the Minnesota medical cannabis patient registry. The amendment also
allows health care facilities to reasonably restrict the use of medical cannabis
by patients. For example, the facility may choose not to store or maintain a
patient's supply of medical cannabis or it may restrict the use of medical cannabis to
a specific location.
MHA convened a broad group of members
to discuss the impact of Minnesota’s new medical cannabis law on hospital
workflows and policies/procedures. MHA’s Medical Cannabis Work Group included
leaders from pharmacy, nursing, the Adverse Drug Events Advisory Group, controlled
substance diversion prevention subject matter experts, and legal counsel.
The work group has produced template policies for MHA members to be used at their discretion. View the Medical Cannabis Template Policies document. The policies can be summarized as
- The hospital will not allow medical cannabis.
- The hospital will allow inpatients to continue use while inpatient in the hospital and medical cannabis will be treated as self-administered home therapy.
- The hospital will allow inpatients to continue while inpatient in the hospital and medical cannabis will be treated as a medication and integrated within the hospital medical workflows.
Hospital leaders may wish to use the template policies as you develop your own processes to
work with patients who are authorized to use medical cannabis. The members
of the work group and the MHA Board of Directors recommend that hospitals
consider the issues raised in the template policies and - working with your
appropriate committees, such as a Pharmacy and Therapeutics committee,
physician committees, legal committees, or executive committees – make a
determination about how your hospital will proceed.
The members of the work group have also made it clear that there will not be
a single standard for all Minnesota hospitals. Each institution must
customize its approach based upon patient characteristics and needs, staff
considerations, and legal analysis. It is also possible that a hospital may
choose not to adopt new policies specific to medical cannabis and instead rely
on existing procedures that are already in place at a facility.
The medical cannabis law is in effect as of July 1, 2015. The
law is available here.
Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website for helpful resources.