DEA Addresses an Issue with MDs Prescribing Marijuana while Holding Positions with Drug Companies

In early June the U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure restricting the DEA from raiding operations in those states where medical marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use.

The conflict between state and federal law has caused problems in those states where doctors have been allowed to offer patients access to the drug, as some doctors currently have federal licenses to prescribe marijuana and have to register with the DEA for monitoring purposes. The fact that the same doctors that prescribe medical marijuana often sit on the boards of major pharmaceutical companies has presented problems for doctors in states where the medicinal use of marijuana is not only legal, but growing in popularity.

For example, DEA investigators are telling doctors in Massachusetts that they can either give up their license to prescribe the drug, or give up their positions on the boards of the pharmaceutical companies, but they cannot hold both. Doctors there have said that they were put under pressure to resign their positions with the dispensaries, and at least two doctors have resigned after being visited by the DEA.

It appears that when the marijuana dispensing companies were chosen in January, most were expected to open this summer, but applications were not checked thoroughly to verify that doctors were not holding prescriptive authority for marijuana while also sitting on the board of a pharmaceutical company. Now complete checks are being carried out, and due to the subsequent resignation of physicians from writing marijuana prescriptions, some dispensaries will have to look for new medically qualified personnel with prescriptive authority to write prescriptions.