Oregon board asking doctors to list medical marijuana patients

June 23, 2004

Joseph B. Frazier, Associated Press


Backers of medical marijuana say the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners is telling doctors to turn in lists of patients whose cannabis cards they have signed.

Paul Stanford of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, which has a registered grow-site for marijuana for medical use, said at least three doctors have been subpoenaed. He said the board wants a list of marijuana card patients seen in the past six months.

That does not include Dr. Phillip Leveque of Molalla, whose license was temporarily suspended by the board in March. He says he has signed some 4,000 cards, nearly half of all those issued in Oregon.

He has been given a hearing by the board, which has not announced its decision. It has said he posed an 'imminent risk' to his patients.

But Kathleen Haley, the executive director of the board, said the board only looks at care that doctors provide to patients generally.

'We don't target any group for practices that are within the law,' she said.

She says the board does call in doctors from time to time where there are complaints to allow them to defend their practices.

She declined to elaborate, citing ongoing investigations.

Portland Dr. David Dodge awaited his hearing Thursday afternoon but said he has no plans to turn over the list of his patients. Stanford said he understood the other two doctors also would refuse.

Dodge estimated he has signed some 2,000 cards over the past year or so.

Stanford said the board demands for patient lists violates patient confidentiality.

Stanford said his group is suing an investigator for the examiners' board contending that he was involved in a March break-in that resulted in foundation records getting into the hands of the examiners.

Stanford said it is against the law to sanction a doctor in Oregon for prescribing medical marijuana.

The executive director of the examiners' board, Kathleen Haley, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

He said if the examiners want the lists they should try to get them through the regular courts.

Oregon's Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 1998, allows residents to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes. A doctor must verify that the patient has a 'debilitating medical condition' such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or severe pain.

In Leveque's case, the board determined that he approved cards for patients with psychiatric disorders and prior histories of drug addition for whom the drug was not appropriate and with conditions marijuana could not help.

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