Response to Editorial Written by a Drug Task Force Officer

A Physician Response to the Dangers of Decriminalizing Marijuana 

I am Dr. Robert Townsend, President of Denali Healthcare, a Mt. Pleasant Pain Management office.  I read with some interest the ‘Guest Voice’ Article on the ‘Dangers of decriminalizing marijuana’ by Michael Covarrubias.  Despite my concern about retribution I felt the need to respond to the outrageous claims made in the article.

It seems that drug enforcement officers such as Mr. Covarrubias seem to have an outline for these articles.  I’d like to respond to several of their ‘talking points’ about the evils of medical marijuana.

Big Cannabis has duped the voters

A common theme used by those with a vested interest in the ‘War on Drugs’ is that there is a hidden hand at work- Big Cannabis.  Big Cannabis is a ‘tool’ of the drug cartels and a danger to truth, justice and the American Way.  They talk about the ‘intent’ of the voters to help terminal patients.  They talk about marijuana financing heroin and cocaine.

The truth of the matter is the voters are not as stupid as they would like us to believe.  They knew EXACTLY what they were voting for.  My 75 year old mother wanted to help cancer patients AND those with chronic pain when she voted for the Act.  I suspect many others did as well.  As for financing drug cartels, marijuana does not do that.  The fact that marijuana is illegal and people are forced to buy it from criminals does.  Fortunately, we have medical marijuana in this state, so people can grow it themselves or buy it from their licensed caregivers.

Marijuana Patients are Poor Parents

All this nonsense about children being kicked out of their bedrooms so people can grow marijuana is designed not to show the danger to children, but to show their marijuana smoking parents are incapable of caring for them properly.  Good parents would never do such a thing, so ‘weed’ smoking parents must by definition be bad.  We see this angle constantly being exploited by CPS, vindictive ex-spouses, and the courts, despite the protections built right into the Act to prevent such assumptions.  Sen Rick Jones is even attempting to ram through a bill forcing parents to choose between children and medicine to formalize the mindset.

Children and College Kids

A common theme is to associate marijuana use with children.  Actual state statistics show that of 130,000 medical marijuana patients in this state, only 44 are minors.  Having certified about 1/3 of them, I can assure you that most will not live long enough to be majors and all are gravely ill.  They are exactly the ‘terminally ill’ patients the voters were ‘duped’ by ‘Big Cannabis’ about, yet because the image of a toddler with a bong is what you are trying to project, you conveniently leave out the ‘duped voter’ angle.  In my practice the average age is 51 with well documented medical conditions.  Fewer than 17% are under the age of 30.

Cannabis is different now… and dangerous

Your study suggests that there is THC on the surfaces of homes of medical marijuana patients, and that somehow this is so dangerous that you need to wear protective gear as if you were cleaning up a meth lab (note the association of cannabis with meth to control the mindset of the reader).  Yet THC is harmless, and in fact there are literally thousands of studies showing medical benefit.  Meth is not.  Unlike cannabis, cocaine is legal, far more dangerous and addictive, and is schedule 2 and available for medical use. I wonder what the risk of even nanogram levels of marijuana on a coffee table will have any adverse effect with transdermal absorption.  But if you are worried, please feel free to wear your bunny suit.

Cannabis hurts performance and makes you stupid

Last I checked, cannabis was not used as a performance enhancing drug.  We all know how it hurts athletic performance in people like Michael Phelps.  You would be amazed at how many very smart people at companies like Microsoft or Google actually use cannabis yet still manage to muddle along and turn their companies into Fortune 500 operations.

Cannabis is a Gateway Drug

Mr. Covarrubias discussed his interviews with college students and how they claimed cannabis was the cause of their woes.  Let’s get this clear.  He wasn’t interviewing them for a term paper, or a newspaper story.  He was ARRESTING them.  They were sitting there, in handcuffs, facing a charge that likely would ruin their lives- impacting their employment, student loans, even military service.  I am sure they told the authority figure with the badge anything he wanted to hear.

The gateway drug for heroin is prescription pain killers- more than 51% started their habit at the doctor’s office.  The vast majority of people get their first exposure to ‘illegal’ drugs with alcohol and underage drinking.

In closing, as a citizen, a voter and a member of the medical community, I wish to personally thank Mr. Covarrubias and his brother law-enforcement officers for the job they do keeping us safe from dangerous drugs.  I just want to very clearly tell him that Marijuana is NOT one of them.  The major adverse side effect of marijuana is exposure to the criminal justice system.

Dr. Robert Townsend is President of Denali Healthcare in Mt. Pleasant, a pain management clinic.  He uses cannabis certifications as a tool to reduce the use of more dangerous narcotic pain medicine.  He is not a card holder and has never personally used marijuana.

Denali to Offer On Line Follow Up

 

Denali Healthcare offers On Line Follow Up

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ade with FLARE

Follow up is essential for a bonafide doctor/patient relationship

At Denali Healthcare we are constantly working to protect patients based on the latest court decisions- Most recently concerning the need for follow up after the certification as a measurement of the bonafide dr/pt relationship. We have always offered free, in person follow up with the doctor.  Now patients can complete the requirement for follow up ON LINE and help us with some research into the demographics of medical marijuana in the process.

Follow up provides us with:

  1. Feedback on the effectiveness of our recommended treatment
  2. Useful demographic data for studies on the use of Medical Marijuana in Michigan
  3. Essential records for you medical chart that will be needed in a Section 8 Defense
  4. Makes sure our records are up to date

If you don’t have time to schedule a formal follow up appointment with us, all you need to do is click this button and we can update your chart…

Submit your follow up to us by clicking this button SUBMIT YOUR UPDATE

Follow Up Couldn’t be Easier!

We are currently working on a study of the demographics of Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients- Recently the state put out some misleading statistics concerning the distribution of conditions, we want to find the true numbers of patients certified for each of the approved conditions.  We believe that the state only counted one condition per patient- a card holder with cancer and nausea would be counted as ‘nausea’, we want to count both and need data to do it.

Based on recent court decisions, we at Denali Healthcare feel there will be a large number of Section 8 cases in the coming year.  Not only will the data we are collecting help patients, but the charted follow ups from the on line forms will be critical in the defenses of individual patients.

After you complete the form, it will be added to your chart.  Thank you for your help!

 

7 Rules You Must Know About Michigan Medical Marijuana!

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For all of you who have some interest in Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Program, whether a doctor, patient, caregiver, etc., here are some rules you must know and follow.

“Bona fide physician-patient relationship”

The physician has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical records and completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person, medical evaluation of the patient. The physician has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accord with medically accepted standards.

The physician has a reasonable expectation that he or she will provide follow-up care to the patient to monitor the efficacy of the use of medical marihuana as a treatment of the patient’s debilitating medical condition. If the patient has given permission, the physician has notified the patient’s primary care physician of the patient’s debilitating medical condition and certification for the use of medical marihuana to treat that condition.

“Get Registered and Grow Your Own”

A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with the act, if the qualifying patient possesses no more than two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marihuana.

If the qualifying patient has not specified a primary caregiver he/she will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for their own medical purposes. Each patient is allowed to grow 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility.

“Enclosed Locked Facility”

All marijuana plants must be grown in an “enclosed, locked facility", which means a closet, room, or other comparable, stationary, and fully enclosed area equipped with secured locks or other functioning security devices that permit access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient.

Marihuana plants grown outdoors are considered to be in an enclosed, locked facility if they are not visible to the unaided eye from an adjacent property when viewed by an individual at ground level or from a permanent structure and are grown within a stationary structure that is enclosed on all sides, except for the base, by chain-link fencing, wooden slats, or a similar material that prevents access by the general public.

The facility is also anchored, attached, or affixed to the ground; located on land that is owned, leased, or rented by either the registered qualifying patient or a person designated through the departmental registration process as the primary caregiver for the registered qualifying patient or patients for whom the marihuana plants are grown; and equipped with functioning locks or other security devices that restrict access to only the registered qualifying patient or the registered primary caregiver who owns, leases, or rents the property on which the structure is located. Enclosed, locked facility includes a motor vehicle if both of the following conditions are met.

“Designate a Primary Caregiver”

A primary caregiver who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process with the medical use of marihuana in accordance with the Act.

The primary caregiver can possess two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marihuana for each registered qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process. For each registered qualifying patient who has specified that the primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility.

A registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver who has been convicted of selling marihuana to someone who is not allowed to use marihuana for medical purposes under the act, shall have his or her registry identification card revoked and may be found guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both, in addition to any other penalties for the distribution of marihuana.

“Felonies and Caregivers”

A primary caregiver will not be registered by the State to grow medical marijuana for any patient if he or she has been convicted of the following:

(A) Any felony within the past 10 years.

(B) A felony involving illegal drugs or violent crimes.

“Affirmative Defense for arrest for Medical Marihuana”

A patient and a patient’s primary caregiver, if any, may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marihuana, and this defense shall be presumed valid where the evidence shows that: the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition;

(2) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were collectively in possession of a quantity of marihuana that was not more than was reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition; and

(3) The patient and the patient’s primary caregiver, if any, were engaged in the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition.

(1) A physician has stated that, in the physician’s professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from

“Petition to add qualifying diseases or medical conditions”

The department shall accept a written petition from any person requesting that a particular medical condition or treatment be included in the list of debilitating medical conditions under R 333.101.The department shall submit the written petition to the review panel. Within 60 days of receipt of the petition, the panel shall make a recommendation to the department regarding approval or denial of the petition.

Upon receipt of a recommendation from the review panel, the department shall do all of the following:

(a) Post the panel's recommendations on the department's website for public comment for a period of 60 days.

(b) Give notice of a public hearing not less than 10 days before the date of the hearing.

 

“Kushy” Dell J. is a blogger and teacher for Dell’s Classroom found on the website for Dr. Bob and the Certification Crew.

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