Doctors Working with Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Told to Give Up Their Position Or Give Up Their License Will the Tactic Extend to Other States?
Less than two weeks after the House of Representatives passed a measure that would defund Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, reports have begun to surface of the DEA intimidating physicians trying to work with state-legal dispensaries in Massachusetts. MassLive and the Boston Globe report that several physicians have been told that if they continue to serve in an advisory capacity for medical marijuana dispensaries, they will lose their DEA license to prescribe certain controlled substances. Already, some doctors have been forced to resign their advisory positions with the dispensaries, which Massachusetts voters agreed to allow in November 2012, possibly delaying the opening of some dispensaries.
"I cannot think of a worse use of law enforcement resources than to undermine a democratically enacted law by intimidating professionals trying to ensure a program designed to help the sick operates as well as it possibly can. This is a gross example of the confused, immoral logic of prohibition gone awry, and frankly, it disgusts me," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director ofLaw Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs.
"Medical marijuana dispensaries are not required to have medical advisors and these actions are likely to have a chilling effect," Major Franklin added. "They're not preventing the dispensaries from opening. They're merely preventing those who run them from doing all they can to ensure they're as safe and effective for patients as possible."
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the right of physicians to recommend medical marijuana to their patients but that decision carries precedential value only in the states under its jurisdiction. Advocates fear this tactic may spread to other places trying to comply with state laws.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officials who, after fighting in the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.