Michigan doctor pleads guilty to marijuana conspiracy charge

On Oct. 30, authorities reported that a Grand Rapids doctor accused of participating in a major drug operation pleaded guilty to a marijuana conspiracy charge. According to authorities, the doctor admitted to providing medical marijuana prescriptions for individuals whom he never saw.

Reportedly, the charge against the 57-year-old doctor resulted from a year-long investigation into the marijuana operation, which allegedly included at least nine other individuals. Investigators claim that a woman and her partner were responsible for providing the physician with patient certifications to sign. The physician stated that he believed that the woman was a compassionate person trying to provide her patients with medical marijuana in order to reduce their pain from debilitating disorders. However, law enforcement agencies noted that Michigan law allows caregivers to provide a maximum of 12 plants per patient, with a maximum of five patients. Therefore, officials stated that there should not have been a need to seek signatures for patient certifications.

Ultimately, the physician admitted to providing prescriptions for at least five dozen people. While prosecutors claim that the doctor made more than $1.3 million from the prescriptions over the course of two years, the doctor stated that he never charged more than $100 for a prescription and that he based the price on the patient's ability to pay. As a result of the guilty plea, the physician could lose his license and will forfeit his home.

Professionals who are facing drug charges risk not only incarceration but also their professional reputation, license and job. There are several defense strategies that a criminal defense team may use to contest the charges and obviate the potential penalties that accompany a conviction. In this case, authorities reported that the doctor is likely to avoid time in prison on account of his cooperation, clean record and good standing within the community.

Source: WZZM, " Doctor admits to writing bogus medical marijuana scripts", John Hogan, October 30, 2014