People under the age of 25 or suffering addiction should not be prescribed medical marijuana, according to stricter standards being introduced by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.
A version of the new professional standards was published on the college's website earlier this month, but has since been taken down.
College registrar Dr. Heidi Oetter said the statement is being reworded to allow for some exceptions for palliative-care patients and patients with seizure disorders.
Oetter said the new policies will also prohibit doctors from charging patients for completing a medical document prescribing cannabis.
"We certainly have learned from our colleagues to the south, particularly in places like Colorado and Washington state," she said.
"They have had instances where physicians have literally opened up hotel rooms to authorize permits at hundreds of dollars per head, and that type of unprofessional activity really tarnishes the profession."
Oetter said the college has not received any complaints about B.C. physicians charging for medical cannabis prescriptions.
'We are moving backwards'
The new guidelines are concerning for some B.C. doctors who prescribe cannabis.
Dr. Kevin Kanerva, a medical consultant with the Do No Harm Clinic in Kelowna, thinks the new policies are too restrictive.
"I have patients who are under the age of 25 who have been successfully using cannabis. So all of a sudden they would be cut off from their legal tested supply, forcing them to go back to the black market," he said.
"We are moving backwards in Canada, which is unfortunate."
Oetter said the college will publish an updated version of the professional standards in the next few weeks and it expects B.C. physicians to adhere to the policy when prescribing medical cannabis.
"This particular document is a standard. That means it is a policy of the college and that means it is enforceable," she said.
"If we were to receive a complaint, that may be the basis for the matter being considered by the inquiry committee or the discipline committee."