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Information for Health Care Professionals

Who qualifies as a health care professional?

A health care professional is an individual licensed in Vermont to practice medicine. This includes physicians, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, PAs (physician assistants), and nurse practitioners. This definition also includes professionally licensed individuals under substantially equivalent positions in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York.

The following mental healthcare professionals also qualify: psychologists, clinical social workers, or clinical mental health counselors. Please note, non-licensed and non-certified psychotherapists and licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors do not qualify as mental health care providers.

I qualify as a health care professional under the medical cannabis program - what are my responsibilities?

The only responsibilities of a health care professional with regards to the provisions of the Marijuana Registry is to verify that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and whether or not the health care professional has had a treating or consulting relationship of three months or more. During that time, the healthcare professional should have completed a full assessment of the registered patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.

A health care professional does not prescribe cannabis.

The three-month relationship requirement doesn't apply if:

  • A patient has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, cancer, or AIDS
  • A patient is currently under hospice care.
  • A patient was diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition by a while living outside of Vermont, and the diagnosis has been confirmed by the health care professional completing the Health Care Professional Verification Form.
    • The new health care professional must complete a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.
  • ​A registered patient who is renewing his or her ID card switches medical providers three months or less before their renewal date.
    • The new health care professional must complete a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination.
  • ​A patient is referred by his or her health care professional to a specialist, and the specialist conducts a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including a personal physical examination. 
  • A patient's debilitating medical condition is of recent or sudden onset.

What qualifies a patient for a medical cannabis card?

A patient must be suffering from a debilitating medical condition in order to be eligible for a medical card. In Vermont, a debilitating medical condition is:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (requires the Mental Health Care Provider Form)

Medical conditions that produce one or more of the following symptoms also may qualify: wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe nausea, or seizures.

Protections for Health Care Professionals

A health care professional who has participated in a patient’s application process under the statute, rules, policies or procedures of the Marijuana Registry shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or disciplinary action under 26 V.S.A. chapter 23, penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege under state law, except for giving false information, pursuant to  18 V.S.A. § 4474c(f).

Health Care Professionals are not prescribing or recommending the use of cannabis. They are verifying the nature of the disease and its symptoms.

Voiding a Registry Identification Card 

A Health Care Professional may remove a patient from the Registry, if they completed the Health Care Professional Verification Form for that patient. If a Health Care Professional wishes to void a registered patients ID card, he or she would notify the Registry in writing requesting to void the registered patient’s registry ID card. A Health Care Professional may notify the Registry by e-mail.

Privacy and Confidentiality

All applications and supporting information submitted by registered patients, including information regarding their caregiver and health care professional are confidential. Records maintained by the Department of Public Safety that identify applicants for a registry identification card, registered patients, registered caregivers, and registered patient’s health care professionals are confidential.

Vermont DMV Total Abstinence Program

The use of cannabis is prohibited by individuals enrolled in the Vermont DMV Total Abstinence Program, because cannabis is not a prescribed drug. A Health Care Professional is verifying the relationship they have with the patient and the patient's medical condition. Health Care Professionals do not prescribe or recommend the use of cannabis. For more information click here to visit the Department of Motor Vehicle's Total Abstinence Program website.