Who Can Authorize
Qualifying patients who believe they would benefit from the use of cannabis do not need to go to a specialty clinic and pay for an authorization. The state law that went into full effect on July 1, 2016, requires all medical practices that are primarily providing medical cannabis authorizations to either increase the variety of medical services within their practice or close down (RCW 69.51A.030(2)(d)(iv).
The Department of Health does not keep a list of those specific practitioners that are authorizing. The following types of healthcare practitioners licensed in Washington State are allowed to authorize the use of cannabis to medical patients:
- Medical doctor (MD) – licensed under chapter 18.71 RCW
- Physician assistant (PA) – licensed under chapter 18.71A RCW
- Osteopathic physician (DO) – licensed under chapter 18.57 RCW
- Osteopathic physician assistant (DOA) – licensed under chapter 18.57A RCW
- Naturopathic physician – licensed under chapter 18.36A RCW
- Advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP)– licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW
Finding an authorizer
It is recommended that patients start with their general practitioner or the specialist they are seeing for their qualifying condition to discuss the use of cannabis as a form of treatment.