Reporter Jonathan Martin Obtains Medical Marijuana Authorizations at Hemp Fest

In the 13-year history of Washington’s medical marijuana law, the Department of Health (DOH) has not taken disciplinary action against any health care provider related to medical marijuana authorizations.  However, DOH has opened an investigation recently into health care providers who are claimed to have issued the authorizations at Hemp Fest in Seattle.  It pretty much started when a reporter from the Seattle Times, Jonathan Martin, stopped by a booth set up by 4Evergreen, and claims to have walked off with a medical marijuana authorization 11 minutes later.  To get the authorization, Martin complained of “a four-year problem, treated by physical therapy, prescription, and over-the-counter pain remedies, with weekly flare-ups ranging from slight to severe.”  This article pretty much highlights a difference in philosophy between medical marijuana  advocates and others in the state.  Many think medical marijuana should be a drug of last resort, whereas others view medical cannabis as a safer alternative to other powerful drugs such as hydrocodone or OxyContin.  It would have been interesting for Martin to have conducted a similar experiment to see how easily he could obtain those prescription drugs.  I would bet that his similar complaints could have led to a prescription for OxyContin in a lot of doctor’s offices.

The story by Jonathan Martin reminds me a little bit of what Clel Baudler did when he was fighting medical marijuana in Iowa.  Baudler, who is a state representative, traveled to California and lied about a medical condition in order to demonstrate how easily he could obtain a prescription.  He admitted he lied, and later faced ethics charges over the incident.

What do you think?  Should state law be amended to make it harder to obtain authorizations?

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
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