89.1 WEMU

Audit: State Not Tracking Medical Marijuana Doctors

Nov 4, 2016

Cannabis Leaf
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The state agency responsible for Michigan’s medical marijuana program says changes are in store.  That’s after an audit found it’s not tracking doctors who approve medical marijuana cards.       

The report by the state Auditor General found one doctor was responsible for more than 11,800 medical marijuana cards -- one-fifth of all the cards approved.  Another 22 doctors approved more than half of all medical marijuana cards.

Tim Beck helped write the medical marijuana law, which was adopted by voters in 2008.  He says the audit shows it’s still hard for patients to find a doctor who will approve medical marijuana.

“This says to me that you really need to have a system of legalization, real legalization, and regulation in the state,” he says.  “That really is the only answer to the so-called marijuana problem.” 

The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says it will be making changes to better verify that doctors are following the law, and will create an online process to apply for a medical marijuana card. 

The department released this statement: 

“Clearly, any doctor allegedly abusing their privileges is a concern that we will work to address.  We agree with the report’s findings and our plan to address them is a part of our ongoing process improvements to ensure the safeguards and enhance the efficiencies of the (Michigan Medical Marijuana Program).” 

A department spokesman said it’s not allowed to release the names of the doctors referred to in the audit. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org