Bring Integrity To Medical Pot
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Bring Integrity To Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on December 24, 2010 at 06:42:02 PT
Denver Post Editorial
Source: Denver Post
Colorado -- The actions that Colorado regulators have initiated against a doctor who recommended medical marijuana for a pregnant woman should serve as a warning. Though Colorado was late off the mark in creating a robust medical marijuana regulatory structure, one exists now.We hope the crackdown against Dr. Manuel Aquino is just the first in an effort to clean up a system that, if anecdotal accounts are to be believed, has been widely abused by doctors and users alike. If bogus patients and doctors giving bad referrals are weeded out of the system, it will only help the cause of those who are truly ill and need relief.
A complaint filed last week against Aquino contains allegations of particularly egregious misconduct.Last January, Aquino saw a 20-year-old woman at Back to the Garden Health and Welfare Center on Gaylord Street in Denver.At the time, she was about 28 weeks pregnant, but she didn't mention it. Yet Aquino is said not to have asked whether she was pregnant.In addition, according to the complaint filed by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Aquino did not listen to the woman's heart or lungs, and didn't take her blood pressure.The doctor failed to ask about prior medical treatment, offer alternative treatment options or instruct the woman to return for follow-up visits, the complaint said.The woman got a medical marijuana referral, and delivered her baby three months later. She tested positive for marijuana at the time of the birth, meaning the child was "drug exposed," the complaint said. And the infant had what are described as "initial feeding difficulties.""Pregnancy is a contraindication for the use of medical marijuana," the complaint says, a fact that is surely understood by any competent doctor. Aquino stands accused of unprofessional conduct, substandard care and not having a "bona fide physician-patient relationship" with the woman.In another matter, Aquino was arrested earlier this year in an undercover bust in Arapahoe County. He is accused of writing marijuana recommendations for two undercover officers without giving them physical exams. Both cases are pending.The outlook for identifying and prosecuting similar abuses improved tremendously with the passage during the last legislative session of a bill that more clearly defines the necessary doctor-patient relationship.A constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2000 says that a physician "in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship" can recommend medical marijuana for a patient.However, a "bona fide" relationship was never spelled out. That occurred only this year with Senate Bill 109, which said a doctor must assess a patient's condition and medical history, and conduct a physical exam.It is our hope that regulators use these new laws to weed out those who abuse the medical marijuana system and threaten to make it a joke.Source: Denver Post (CO)Published: December 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: openforum denverpost.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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