Medical marijuana opponents seek harsh penalties for doctors

Bill says doctors can go to prison for incomplete medical marijuana exam

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

State lawmakers are moving to make felons of doctors who don’t follow all the rules when recommending that a patient be allowed to use marijuana.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk /Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

The 6-3 vote Thursday for HB 2067 would impose prison terms of up to a year for medical professionals who fail to conduct a full medical exam before issuing the required state certification to buy and use the drug. That same penalty also would apply to doctors who do not review at least a year of the patient’s medical records.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who chairs the campaign against Proposition 205,says its approval would make Arizona roads more dangerous and “endanger Arizona’s children,” saying Colorado has suffered “a whole host of negative consequences.

That vote came on the heels of complaints by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk about “pot docs,” people she said who are in the business of making as much money as they can providing the required certification patients need to be able to legally purchase and use the drug.

Polk has made no secret of the fact that she opposes medical marijuana. But with voters having approved the program in 2010, she is powerless to do anything about that.

What Polk said she can do, however, is ensure as much as possible that doctors follow the certification process already required by state regulations. That, she told lawmakers, is not happening.

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