Doctor Advocates Open Use

Dr. Larry Bedard, a longtime member of the Marin Healthcare District Board is now advocating the inpatient use of marijuana at Marin General Hospital.

“I want to have Marin General be the first hospital in California to openly and transparently allow patients to use medical cannabis,” Dr. Bedard said.

He also wrote recently in the defense of Proposition 64, which would allow Californians of drinking age to use marijuana recreationally. He argued that current drug laws disproportionally target minorities, and that marijuana poses fewer risks than alcohol. “As an emergency physician, I know that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

Frederick Mayer, head of Pharmacists Planning Services Inc., a non-profit pharmacy education organization, thinks inpatient marijuana use would be a fantastic idea. He said that hospitals in Israel use marijuana successfully for palliative care and as a replacement for dangerous narcotics in the role of pain management.

Marin General’s administrators are nervous about the risks of legal backlash. Bedard writes that they are “concerned that the federal government could retaliate by lifting the hospital’s Medicare provider number, and the state could withhold Medi-Cal funding.” They may be protected, though, by the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the government from using federal funds to penalize patients, physicians, and hospitals that are complying with state law.

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