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Philadelphia doctor suspended over “problematic use” of cannabis

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2019 | Medical Licensing

The Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine suspended the license of a popular physician who held himself out as “America’s Medical Marijuana Doctor.” As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 34-year-old doctor received a three-year suspension over concerns regarding his ability to practice due to “illness or addiction to drugs” and a “problematic use” of cannabis. While he is well-known through social media for his passionate advocacy of the medical marijuana industry, he is also one of Pennsylvania’s first physicians to recommend patients for medicinal cannabis.

In order for patients in Pennsylvania to legally use cannabis, they must first be diagnosed with a condition that is eligible for treatment through medicinal marijuana products. Rather than receiving a prescription for cannabis, a patient must find a licensed physician who is specialized in the field to issue a use recommendation for purchase at a dispensary.

In addition to providing patients with recommendations, the Philadelphia-based doctor also ingested cannabis to treat his own symptoms for post-traumatic stress disorder. Allegedly, his issues began when he attempted to purchase a revolver after undergoing a psychiatric evaluation by the state. A gun dealer refused to sell him a revolver citing a federal law enacted in 1968 that prohibits marijuana users from firearm ownership. In response to this rejection, he filed a lawsuit against the federal government accusing the current administration of preventing him from exercising his Second Amendment rights.

The Department of State determined that the doctor may not be able to provide patient care with reasonable skill and safety due to his “illness or addiction to drugs.” He was placed under suspension with a three-year probation, and may face criminal charges if he violates its terms. The Pennsylvania Code, however, provides a medical practitioner with the right to appeal a disciplinary decision under certain circumstances.