Recently, the attention of Congress was drawn to the issue of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s involvement in the Massachusetts medical field. While Federal law forbids any use of marijuana, Massachusetts is one of 22 states that allow the drug for medical use.
According to US Representative, and California Republican, Dana Rohrabacher, the DEA’s attempt to remove Massachusetts doctors from the medical marijuana business was generating an “atmosphere of fear among physicians.”
In fact, the DEA issued an ultimatum to Massachusetts doctors, regarding medical marijuana. This ultimatum stated that the doctors must break all connections with marijuana companies, or else they would lose their federal licenses to prescribe other medication.
Dr. Samuel Mazza, the chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, received a visit from a DEA investigator, shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Mazza told the Boston Globe that he was confronted by DEA investigator, Gregory Kelly, who said, “Here are your options, you either give up your license or give up your position on the board…or you challenge it in court.”
A measure was approved by the US House last month, which would prohibit the DEA from using its funding to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Rep. Rohrabacher, who sponsored the amendment, said, “What they are doing, obviously, is not only suppressing doctors, but wasting resources. If they want to fight crime, let’s use those resources to hire police to come and do more patrols in neighborhoods where there is high crime.”
Another US Representative, and a cosponsor of Rohrabacher’s amendment, is Tennessee Democrat, Steve Cohen. Cohen called the DEA’s actions “heavy-handed” and said that encouraging doctors to be involved with medical marijuana dispensaries like they should be, the agency was “trying to run people off.”
The number of Massachusetts physicians given an ultimatum by the DEA is increasing daily. According to the Boston Globe, “The DEA is targeting doctors who are listed as part of the management or board of directors of proposed marijuana dispensaries. These doctors, under state rules, would not be allowed to recommend marijuana for their patients.”
Out of the nine Congressmen in Massachusetts who voted, only two voted against the Rohrabacher measure to stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws.
One Representative in support, Michael Capuano, said he voted for the amendment, because he does not expect the DEA to stop its current actions “without a clear directive from Congress.”