Dr. Mollie Fry thought telling her patients where to get the medicine she recommended for pain, depression and nausea would not be a problem. Federal drug agents who raided her Cool, Calif., home and office thought otherwise, and she was indicted last year on felony charges of conspiring to distribute marijuana, reports the Associated Press. “I assumed the fact that I had ‘M.D.’ at the end of my name gave me the right to make judgments about people’s health,” said Fry.
Since California passed the nation’s first medical marijuana law a decade ago, a provision requiring written doctor approval to grow and buy pot has created conflict between the state mandate and federal drug laws, and strained the doctor-patient relationship. Until the stalemate is resolved, doctors recommending marijuana are at risk. Medical marijuana advocates estimate that 1,500 doctors, mostly oncologists and AIDS specialists, have authorized pot for at least one patient. But most recommendations have come from about 15 self-appointed specialists, the so-called “pot docs,” who walk a gray area between the clearly permissible and the clearly impermissible.