DEA pressures docs to cut ties with medical marijuana companies

Although Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allegedly threatened physicians with ties to prospective dispensaries to resign from their positions with these companies or lose their licenses to prescribe controlled substances, MassLive reported.

"They're going directly to the doctors, not setting up appointments, and giving them an ultimatum," Valerio Romano, an attorney in Boston who represents several applicants for dispensary licenses in Massachusetts, told the newspaper. In some cases, DEA officials have sought doctors at their homes, resulting in at least two doctors acquiescing to their demands.

Amid concerns about delays in the already-behind process of licensing dispensaries in Massachusetts, Department of Public Health spokesman David Kibbe released a statement assuring the opposite: "Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) are not required to have medical personnel on their management teams, and any doctor leaving the leadership team of an RMD would not cause any delays in the program or have an impact on applications beyond the additional time required to conduct background checks on replacement personnel."

In the long term, it will take an act of Congress to end the tension between federal authorities (federal law still prohibits the use of marijuana) and states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, Romano told the Boston Globe. "And last week, Congress started," he said. "The house voted to defund drug enforcement agencies from conducting raids on the medical marijuana program."

To learn more:
- read the article from MassLive
- see the story from the Boston Globe