On Thursday, two physicians practicing in Larimer County (the Fort Collins area) were arrested and charged with providing medical marijuana recommendations despite being advised the requester had no qualifying conditions.
Dr. Dallas Williams, 73, and Dr. Joseph Montante, 63, were stung by undercover investigators who "initiated contact with both doctors and were able to obtain recommendations for medical marijuana after clearly stating they had no debilitating medical conditions which would authorize them to obtain medical marijuana," says a press release.
The pair were charged with felony attempting to influence a public servant, which didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so I called Larimer County Sheriff's Office public information officer John Schulz.
"I believe the way that that works is that they’re trying to influence a public official — in this case the people who issue the marijuana licenses — by providing them false information," says Schulz. "It’s a false recommendation in that it doesn’t meet the criteria according to state law. They did not have a debilitating medical condition."
Considering there really aren't a whole lot of MMJ-related laws on the books, is this a kind of replacement charge?
"I’m not sure I would call it a ‘replacement charge,'" he replies. "It’s just that they’re providing false information to a public official in order to influence his actions."
The Denver Post reports that each has something of a past.
Colorado Medical Board records show that in 2009, Williams received a written reprimand for allowing an esthetician to perform procedures in a clinic that she was not authorized to do.
The records also show Montante and the state Medical Board reached a disciplinary stipulation in the 1990s, but specifics about what he got in trouble for were not readily available because the records are not electronic.
Each doctor has been released on a $3,500 personal recognizance bond.
In somewhat related news, the Post also reported a week ago that deaths linked to prescription opioid use have doubled in the past 10 years "and the steep increases in both legal use and dangerous abuse of painkillers are forcing the medical community to rethink the way it treats chronic pain."