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Medicolegal: New York State Medical Marijuana Legal Course Series-TopicIII
Syllabus Topic III of the New York State Medical Marijuana Legal Course Series discusses professional liability, malpractice and risk management.
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Practitioners may be civilly liable to patients and third parties for the adverse consequences stemming from recommending marijuana just like any other drug or medical regimen. To date, there are only a few cases filed involving "marijuana malpractice," none of which have been decided by a jury verdict or a judicial decision. Notwithstanding the void of cases addressing this subject, we should not conclude that "marijuana malpractice" cases are less risky or less likely to lead to a lawsuit. Like any other treatment, malpractice liability can occur if a practitioner fails to follow the acceptable standards of care. However, due to the relative infancy of medical marijuana, the standards of accepted care are not clear.
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by a health care provider in the context of a provider-patient relationship.57 Medical malpractice liability can occur when there is a deviation or departure from the accepted standards of care and such a departure is a proximate cause of the injuries sustained by a patient.58