Michigan doctor suspended after approving 22,000 medical marijuana certificates in 12 months

click to enlarge A doctor in Northern Michigan is suspended for two years after it was revealed he approved 22,000 medical marijuana applications in 12 months. - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
A doctor in Northern Michigan is suspended for two years after it was revealed he approved 22,000 medical marijuana applications in 12 months.

Listen — we all know that person who has maybe exaggerated, fabricated, or outright faked one or more of qualifying ailments to score what was once considered the golden ticket in Michigan: a medical marijuana card.

But in Michigan, there's a doctor who has been signing off and approving applications — legitimate and not — at a hard-to-believe record speed. Dr. Vernon Proctor of Baldwin has apparently approved somewhere close to 21,708 medical marijuana licenses from 2015-2016. That's 25 times more licenses than there are people in Baldwin.

According to WDIV-TV, the Michigan appeals court has upheld Proctor's two-year suspension, which was originally ordered by the Bureau of Professional Licensing. It's estimated that he would have to have seen up to 60 patients a day every day for 12 months to produce that many certifications. That means 7.5 patients per hour during an eight-hour day, or under 10 minutes per patient.

A marijuana doc is tasked with obtaining and reviewing a patient's medical records that support the ailments for which they are seeking treatment, as well as conducting exams, especially in cases where there are no prior medical records.

Proctor says the number of certifications he signed off on was closer to 1,000 over the 12 months, a number that is significantly lower than the 22,000 he has been suspended for issuing.

Since launching a medical marijuana program, Michigan has issued thousands of licenses for those with health conditions like cancer, HIV, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, IBS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain, to name a few. Currently, there are more than 250,000 people — or 2.5% of Michigan's population — with active licenses that allow them to purchase marijuana products at medical or recreational dispensaries. Card-holding patients have access to higher-dosage packs of edibles and are exempt from paying an excise tax that is applied to recreational sales.

To learn more about how to become a medical marijuana patient or caregiver in Michigan, see michigan.gov/mra.

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