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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Doctors Busted in Medical Marijuana Stings

Across the state, doctors who have been taking fees for rubber-stamping, falsifying, or pre-authorizing written certifications for folks applying for medical marijuana cards are collecting criminal convictions.  In order to receive a pot card, the patient must demonstrate they have a "debilitating medical condition".

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act requires a prospective patient to present medical records to a physician within a bona fide physician-patient relationship.  The physician must then make an evaluation as to whether the patient has a debilitating medical condition.

In doing so, section 4 of the MMMA affords doctors immunity from prosecution simply for providing the requested certifications.  In this regard, the Act states:
A physician shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by the Michigan board of medicine, the Michigan board of osteopathic medicine and surgery, or any other business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for providing written certifications, in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship and after the physician has completed a full assessment of the qualifying patient's medical history, or for otherwise stating that, in the physician's professional opinion, a patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the serious or debilitating medical condition, provided that nothing shall prevent a professional licensing board from sanctioning a physician for failing to properly evaluate a patient's medical condition or otherwise violating the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions.
Well, as with all things "medical marijuana"-related, schemes have popped-up within the medical community.For example, in Macomb County, Lois Butler-Jackson was jury-convicted last month of conspiracy and health care fraud.  The Macomb County Prosecutor and the Michigan Attorney General teamed-up to prove that Dr. Butler-Jackson was pre-authorizing certifications for unseen  patients; stacks of the certifications were then distributed, presumably for a fee, by other individuals to pot card-seeking members of the public.
Up in Cadillac, MI, Dr. Edward Harwell has been charged by the Michigan Attorney General with a series of felonies for allegedly issuing medical marijuana certifications to undercover law enforcement officers without obtaining proper medical verification of the requisite debilitating medical condition.

We here at the Law Blogger have long-suspected that the, er, "medical" nature of the Act is a ruse created by dedicated pot-lobbists whose real goal is to use the fashionable medical marijuana legislation as a proverbial Trojan-Horse for outright legalization.

This legalization highway, however, is getting littered with casualties such as the less-than-forthright physicians featured in this post; and the marijuana dispensaries recently outlawed by the Michigan Supreme Court.

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