* I suggested months ago that there was something not quite right about the state’s first “medical marijuana clinic,” so I’m glad to see the state is taking some action…
Months before any Illinois residents can legally purchase pot, state regulators have filed a formal complaint against the doctor who opened Good Intentions LLC, the first medical marijuana clinic in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which inspected the clinic shortly after it opened in August in Wicker Park, said today that Dr. Brian Murray charged for “pre-certification for medical cannabis without conducting physical examinations” or “establishing a legitimate physician-patient relationship.”
The clinic vigorously disagrees.
“That’s absolutely false,” said Daniel Reid, general manager and spokesman for Good Intentions, which he said has received about 25,000 inquiries from potential patients since August. “He didn’t pre-qualify or anything of the sort.”
* From earlier this year…
On Wednesday, the clinic charged some people a $99 fee for an individual care plan that would later be formulated. […]
Stuart Bander, 50, who said he’s been suffering from multiple sclerosis for 20 years, was disappointed with the staff’s answers to his questions about the law.
“I know more than they do,” he said. “They’re doing nothing.”
* Look, I don’t particularly love the state’s new medical marijuana law. It’s way too restrictive. Just legalize it and get it over with already. But we do have a law now and hinky practices need to be avoided. From an IDFPR press release…
“Unlike some states, Illinois law does not allow for ‘medical cannabis clinics’ or practices that exist solely to offer cannabis certifications,” IDFPR Acting Secretary Manuel Flores said. “We want to make sure that patients who would truly benefit from the relief of medical cannabis are not misled and physicians are not violating the law.”
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act does not take effect until January 1, 2014 and rules for administration of the Act have yet to be finalized. The rules will not be adopted until the winter of 2014. Any entity or individuals touting their ability to help with compliance with the Act or offering services in furtherance of obtaining medical cannabis before rules are adopted should be treated with extreme caution.
The Act only permits a physician who has a bona fide physician-patient relationship and is treating the patient’s qualifying debilitating medical condition to certify them for use of medical cannabis. A physician may only accept payment from a patient for the fee associated with the required medical examination prior to certifying a patient for use of medical cannabis. Physicians cannot accept payment for the certification itself.
There is no specialty in medicine that treats all the various qualifying debilitating medical conditions listed in the Act. This means that one physician could not properly treat all patients eligible to use medical cannabis. Additionally, IDFPR would not consider a physician to be treating a patient for a condition if the only treatment being provided is a written authorization for the used of medical cannabis.
Any physician advertising as a “medical cannabis clinic” will immediately fall under the Department’s scrutiny. It may be appropriate for a specialist who treats one or more of the debilitating medical conditions to advertise that they are open to providing written authority. But, it is not appropriate for a physician to advertise that the purpose of the clinic is to provide such written authorization.
“We did that to avoid what happened in California,” where physician offices or even websites were created solely to provide ID cards for medical marijuana, said Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, a principal author of the law. “It’s a sham. We have no intention under our law to create a sham.”