By LOUISE GILBERT / The Associated PressAssociated PressMedical marijuana advocates are bracing for a backlash from some patients who are worried they will face more legal challenges if they use the drug.
The federal government has approved medical marijuana to treat conditions like intractable pain, nausea and vomiting, but it’s not clear how many patients will actually be able to get their prescriptions filled.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday said the agency would begin issuing new guidance to states on how to implement marijuana legalization in the coming weeks.
Under the guidance, the U.N. agency will begin issuing guidance that would help states establish rules for dispensaries and provide guidance on how those rules would apply to marijuana sales.
Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington state but is not yet federally approved, though the Department of Justice and the DEA have said they intend to make it legal there in the future.
The department has said that its guidance will not apply to patients with intractability, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, cancer, glaucoma and any other debilitating condition.
The guidance also will not cover prescriptions for marijuana.
But it could be used to give some patients a break from the federal government.
The new guidance would apply only to states that have legalized medical marijuana, and it is not clear if it will apply to the states that are still considering legalization.
The Trump administration has yet to make a decision on whether it will allow states to use federal law to regulate marijuana.
That could change in the near future.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was appointed by Trump in January, has said the federal Justice Department will review all the evidence about marijuana legalization.
In January, Sessions said that he would recuse himself from any decision about marijuana regulation.
The recusal was in response to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about his involvement with the Trump administration’s position on marijuana.
He later told reporters he would continue to recuse from marijuana-related matters.
The recusal is a break with the Justice Department’s previous position that states should not be allowed to regulate pot, and is expected to be part of the guidance.