MDH wants to make their proposed rules permanent, but there are some serious issues with them! Please send the pasted letter below (with your name and address signed at the bottom) to: [email protected] by 4:30pm on December 16, 2015. That’s Wednesday!! Thank you!!
Dear Commissioner Ehlinger,
I write, as a concerned citizen with regard to the Proposed Rules referenced on the Department of Health’s website, to REQUEST A FORMAL HEARING ON THE PROPOSED EXPEDITED PERMANENT RULES PERTAINING TO MEDICAL CANNABIS
The current proposed timeline for adding new qualifying conditions and new delivery methods for medical cannabis allows for a delay of over two years from the date a petition is submitted to the date someone with a new qualifying condition can purchase medical cannabis or utilize a new delivery method. There is no reason for such a lengthy delay in this timeline.
The Department’s own proposed rules listed on its website from October, just a month prior to these published proposed rules, included the ability to petition the commissioner in both January and June, rather than the currently proposed time periods of June and July of a given year. Allowing petitions to be received in January and February, rather than June and July, would mean that even with the proposed six month delay that the commissioner can enact to allow more time to come to a decision, his decision would be made in time for the next legislative session. With the current petitioning timeframe of June and July, the six month delay can force the decision to come down in the following legislative session, causing the extensive delay of over two years before a new qualifying condition or delivery method is added. In the Department’s own SONAR report on the proposed rules, there is no reason given for having the petition window in June and July, rather than January and February, other than to allow the commissioner enough time to alert the legislature of his decision. However, the potential six month delay action is not mentioned at all and would substantially alter the timeline in a negative manner for new qualifying conditions and delivery methods to be added.
- The time period for petition submission should be earlier in the year, not later.
- This is to allow for the commissioner’s potential six month delay to be enacted while still getting the commissioner’s recommendation to the Legislature within the same year.
- Thus, new qualifying conditions and new delivery methods will not have to be in limbo for potentially over two years from the date a petition is submitted to the date someone with a new qualifying condition can purchase medical cannabis or new delivery methods can be utilized.
Additionally, the commissioner’s decision should be announced to allow enough time for a potential appeal of the decision to an administrative law judge. Currently, the proposed timeline does no such thing.
Finally, requiring the manufacturers to maintain or contract a 24/7 adverse reactions reporting line is an unnecessary financial burden on the manufacturers, which will inevitably trickle down to patient costs. It has been well-reported in the news that neither manufacturer is financially viable with the current number of patients and medical cannabis costs are much higher than in other states, which results in very sick people not having access to their medication. In the Department’s SONAR report on the proposed rules, the reasoning for requiring an adverse reactions reporting line from each manufacturer is to collect and integrate data with the University of Mississippi’s database of similar data on medical cannabis. If the state wants this data to integrate with another state program, the state should pay for one central adverse reactions reporting line. Forcing two reporting lines to be paid for by the manufacturers is a redundancy and an unnecessary financial burden.
Thus, I write to formerly request Public Hearings be held.
Thank you for you anticipated cooperation,