Medical marijuana is on election ballots in three states, could be a sticky issue for nursing homes

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Three states will be voting on whether to approve the use of medical marijuana in Tuesday's election, and that has a direct effect on nursing homes in those states.

In some states, where medical use has been legalized, nursing homes have enacted procedures for dispensing and storing the substance, The New York Times reported. But in states such as Alaska, the state marijuana law says that facilities are not required to accommodate residents using cannabis in any facility monitored by the state's Department of Administration, including assisted living facilities. Even in states where medical cannabis is legal, the federal government doesn't consider it to have medicinal value. As a result, assisted living facilities that allow it could lose Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

But the state of Maine has changed its laws so that nursing homes or inpatient hospices can act as registered medical marijuana caregivers, making them able to obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary. The dispensary then measures and package doses, which makes it easier for nursing homes to inventory. States including New Mexico are making similar strides.