Now a story you'll see on just one station: Medical Marijuana: It's legal if you're sick, so shouldn't it be impossible to get if you're healthy? Watch what happens in Hank's undercover investigation.
Want to get medical marijuana? If you go to one of the brand new clinics in Massachusetts—it doesn’t appear to be very difficult.
The new Massachusetts law says you're supposed to be suffering from a "debilitating medical condition" to get it. But when a 7News producer went into several clinics, undercover, she wasn’t sick. She didn’t show any medical records. The only thing she brought were copies of these x-rays showing arthritis in the elbow. Thing is--they're actually the x-rays of this yellow Labrador. The dog is the one with arthritis.
The law lets Massachusetts doctors give a marijuana "certification"--basically a permit to legally possess and grow a 60 day supply of marijuana--if "after a full assessment" of the "patients medical history" they think the "benefits would outweigh the health risks."
When our perfectly healthy producer emailed one clinic, that doctor refused to see her without detailed medical records. Experts say --that 's what doctors should do.
Doctor Martin Crane, Former Chair Massachusetts Board of Registration and Medicine: “They render quality care, safe care, effective care, and a certain standard of care.”
But in two other marijuana clinics--it was basically need pot? No problem.
In this one, the receptionist asked our producer for more medical records, saying xrays weren't enough. But then--a doctor appeared--and agreed to see her.
WHDH Producer : "He said he couldn't tell anything from the x-rays. He asked me a couple of questions, but he didn't do even a basic exam. No heart rate, no blood pressure, he didn’t examine my elbow. The whole thing took seven minutes."
And then, the doctor officially stamped this certificate: she can now legally grow and use marijuana .
Doctor Martin Crane, Former Chair Massachusetts Board of Registration and Medicine: “This is a sad state of affairs!”
Dr. Martin Crane was chairman of the Board of Registration in Medicine--and policed Massachusetts doctors.
Hank: Is there any way this is acceptable?
Doctor Martin Crane, Former Chair Massachusetts Board of Registration and Medicine: “This is not something that's safe, it’s not quality care, and it’s not what should be expected by a patient who goes to a physician.”
That seven minute visit cost $200. And listen to this: patients who don't get the marijuana recommendation--get their money back.
Hank: “Is that how doctors usually work?”
Doctor Martin Crane, Former Chair Massachusetts Board of Registration and Medicine: “That's not the way medicine is ordinarily practiced.”
Talk about "not ordinarily practiced... Another clinic wanted us to sign this release saying, “I am not a member of the media" and "I am not recording any portion of my visit nor do I possess any recording equipment."
But no such request at this clinic--we were recording as our producer handed over those dog x-rays, and stepped into the doctor’s office.
Hank: “Did he do an exam?”
WHDH Producer: “No. Not at all. He looked at the x-ray--and said, oh this doesn't look good. Then he asked me some general questions. It took about 5 minutes.”
Then--for $200--she got this official physician certification. Now she can grow her own marijuana...and legally light up.
How can this happen? The new law requires the Mass Department of Public Health to make the final regulations for medical marijuana - and they haven't done that yet! DPH told us it does plan on making rules about the relationship that needs to exist between doctors and patients before giving out these marijuana certificates. As for the certificates our producer got - they’ve been destroyed.
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