U.S. 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, physicians and their attorneys tell the Boston Globe. 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.
“Here are your options,” Dr. Samuel Mazza said he was told by Gregory Kelly, a DEA investigator. “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. The DEA crackdown comes even as the U.S. 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.