As the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes becomes more widespread in states across the country, senior living community operators are encountering challenges with serving their residents while complying with the law.
For Ohio memory care communities, for instance, it’s almost impossible to adhere to one section of the state’s medical marijuana law, even though Alzheimer’s disease is one of 21 conditions for which the use of prescribed medical marijuana is now approved in Ohio, cleveland.com reports (Parkinson’s disease is another approved condition). That section of the law states that no more than two caregivers can administer medical marijuana to any one person, and it prohibits any given caregiver from administering medical marijuana to more than two people.
Some residents might have a prescription to take medical marijuana daily or multiple times a day and may not be able to self-administer the drug, Mary Cavanaugh, general counsel for private-pay memory care provider Kemper House, which has two locations, told the media outlet. Since nurses don’t work seven days a week, ensuring that one of a resident’s caregivers was working to administer the drug would be difficult, she added.
Senior living operators can apply for an exemption to the caregiver portion of the law, but communities that accept payments from Medicare or Medicaid risk losing federal funding if they administer it, because marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law. Private financing and liability insurance also could be at risk for those providers who break federal law, the article points out.