By Bob Katzen

The Cannabis Policy Committee held a virtual hearing on legislation that would prohibit doctors and health care facilities from testing a patient for the presence of marijuana without first obtaining written consent from the patient. If written consent is given, the measure prohibits the release of the results to anyone except for the patient unless the patient gives written consent.

Sponsor Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston) said he filed the bill after hearing of a person who was tested for marijuana, without her consent, by her primary care physician during a routine physical that included standard urine and blood work. “However, when she received her results, the results included her being positive for marijuana,” said Holmes. “She was very alarmed because a positive result could put both her job and probation at risk. Marijuana is certainly legal now in Massachusetts but she has federal probation.”

“This bill is designed to prevent this from occurring in the future as we continue to navigate federal and state laws,” continued Holmes. “The consent in the bill is modeled after the consent that must be given by a patient to do HIV testing.”

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