It has been just over week since the US House of Representatives passed a historical amendment to outlaw the Justice Department from using federal funds to raid medical marijuana operations. And while the measure now lingers in political purgatory in hopes of Senate approval, the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to push forward with its underhanded harassment tactics by threatening physicians with the loss of prescription privileges if the do not abandon their medical marijuana affiliations.
According to a recent report from the Boston Globe, several Massachusetts doctors and attorneys have come forward with disgusting accounts of a discreet shakedown mission, conducted by the DEA, in which investigators are bullying physicians into stepping aside from the medical marijuana community or face severe consequences that would effect their practices forever -- the loss of the federal license that allows them to prescribe controlled medication.
Federal law mandates that all physicians register with the DEA, so the agency can monitor the prescription of narcotics. They have the power to revoke this license if health care providers are discovered to be engaging in unlawful practices with prescription drugs.
Dr. Samuel Mazza, chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Center, said the DEA came to visit him as soon as the state approved the initial 20 provisional licenses. He said investigator, Greg Kelly, with the DEA’s New England office provided him with the following options: “You either give up your [DEA] license or give up your position on the board . . . or you challenge it in court.”
Dr. Mazza says the DEA has also shown up at his home and left him several harassing phone messages.
“They’re going directly to the doctors, not setting up appointments, and giving them an ultimatum,” Valerio Romano, a Boston attorney recently told Mass Live. He said he is concerned that these actions will result in further delays by the state Department of Health.
“The main problem that I see with all this is the rollout for the program is already five-plus months behind and if the applicants are amending their applications to remove directors or members of the executive management team, this will just force the DPH to take another look at the plans the applicants have,” he said.
The Massachusetts Department of Health released a statement earlier this week that indicates no additional delays are expected as the result of application amendments. “Any doctor leaving the leadership team of an Registered Marijuana Dispensary 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.”
So, how are physicians handling the DEA’s stranglehold? Some are simply submitting to the DEA’s threats. Dr. Mazza, who has been in possession of a DEA license for several decades, says it was easier to give the license up than fight them in court. “It was easy for me because I really didn’t need the license anymore,” he said. “If I did need the license and was still in private practice as a general surgeon, I’m not sure what I would have done. I probably would have relinquished my position as CEO [of the dispensary].”
Not surprisingly, DEA officials refuse to comment in regards to the agency’s provocation and stalking policy in Massachusetts, and they refuse to disclose whether the campaign is a statewide effort or something taking place on a national level.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.