| Posted on Fri, June, 6th 2014 by THCFinder
US Drug Enforcement Administration investigators have visited the homes and offices of Massachusetts physicians involved with medical marijuana dispensaries and delivered an ultimatum: sever all ties to marijuana companies, or relinquish federal licenses to prescribe certain medications, according to several physicians and their attorneys.
The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug.
The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies,where some held prominent positions.
The Globe this week identified at least three doctors contacted by DEA investigators, although there may be more.
“Here are your options,” Dr. Samuel Mazza said he was told by Gregory Kelly, a DEA investigator from the agency’s New England Division office. “You either give up your [DEA] license or give up your position on the board . . . or you challenge it in court.”
Mazza, chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, which won preliminary state approval to open a dispensary in Holyoke, said the DEA investigator’s visit came shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Mazza said he returned from vacation in February to find a DEA business card on the door to his home and several messages on his answering machine urging him to contact the agency immediately.
The quiet DEA crackdown comes even as the US House of Representatives approved a measure last week that would restrict the DEA from raiding medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal. Senate action is pending.
Tensions between federal and state officials have flared as 22 states, including Massachusetts, have legalized medical marijuana, many since 2010.
A spokesman for the DEA in Boston on Wednesday referred calls to agency headquarters in Washington.
A DEA spokeswoman in Washington declined to answer questions Thursday about the doctors’ assertions that they are being asked to choose between their drug prescribing licenses and their ties to dispensaries. The spokeswoman would not say whether the action in Massachusetts is part of a national policy or limited to the state.