Medical Boards Investigate Doctors Prescribing Medical Marijuana

As more local medical boards review doctors’ practices of recommending medical marijuana to patients, some physicians are complaining that the investigations are politically motivated, the American Medical News reported April 26.

Several California physicians and at least one Oregon doctor have been scrutinized by their local medical boards because of their medical-marijuana recommendations. Both states, along with Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, and Washington, have medical-marijuana laws.

State medical boards contend that the investigations are based on inquiries into proper medical practice. “As complaints come in, we’re going to investigate them in the context of good medicine,” said Joan Jerzak, chief of the Medical Board of California’s enforcement program.

But doctors claim that law-enforcement officials who don’t support medical marijuana submit complaints to the board. “We’re known for representing medical cannabis, and the feds don’t want it to happen, and they will stop at nothing,” said Berkeley, Calif., psychiatrist Tod Mikuriya, M.D., who was placed on a five-year probation by his medical board.

In an October 2003 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court defended the rights of doctors to talk about marijuana with patients.