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Jun-10-2007 15:56TweetFollow @OregonNews
The Most Dangerous Man in OregonDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
He says Medical Marijuana is often a far better alternative than morphine-based drugs.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Judge Francis Young, who is/was the Administrative Law Judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, made the following ruling and statement after a conference and hearing:
Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man...one must reasonably conclude that there is accepted safety for use of marijuana under medical supervision. To conclude otherwise on the record would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.
Marijuana, or Cannabis, as medicine, has a long history in the United States. It was introduced into medical practice about 1840 after a highly successful introduction into England, after thousands of years of medical use, starting in India or China, possibly 4,000 years ago.
Note: Cannabis is also specifically named in the Hebrew Bible as kaneh (cane) bosom (sweet/aromatic) in Exodus 30:21-23. How it got the name sweet or aromatic should be obvious. It has a sweet taste and perfume-like odor.
It also has some bad history. The concentrated form is called Hashish. In high concentrations, it causes strong euphoria and hallucinations. Euphoria is exaggerated good feelings. In one historical account, Arab soldiers were given this. When these soldiers were indoctrinated with hashish, beautiful women were also supplied. Ultimately, the hashish caused sleep. When the soldiers woke up, they were told they had visited paradise and if they died in battle they would go to paradise with many beautiful virgins. These soldiers were called "Hashisan" or "hashish eaters", and the modern word is assassins. These soldier assassins would do anything to get back to paradise and the virgins.
To come back to the present, this “dangerous man” was first introduced to marijuana in Klamath Falls about 1928. The Mexican kids were smoking “loco weed.” It is true that marijuana can cause euphoria. To a bystander, this could be considered acting crazy.
He next encountered Cannabis as cough medicine (Cosadeine – Parke Davis) at the University of Oregon Medical School in 1949 when he organized the Pharmacology Department stock room. This was 12 years after it had been declared illegal any place in the U.S.
It was known in those times that certain “low lifes” were smoking marijuana even in the face of severe legal punishment. He, years later, found out that some of his patients had been using it medically for as long as 50 years. Many recent patients told him their grandmothers smoked it frequently in a tobacco pipe. For many, it seems to act as a tranquilizer and sedative.
The “Hippy Generation” seems to have rediscovered marijuana, L.S.D. and “sacred mushrooms” about the same time in the 60’s and 70’s. Some of these “Hippy” types also had medical ailments which they discovered were ameliorated by the use of marijuana. One special case was a Boston man who had Glaucoma. He had been arrested for marijuana use but sued the U.S. government for the right to use it as it was the only medicine giving relief, despite previous use of many pharmaceuticals.
Ultimately, about 15 more medical patients were granted U.S. government permits to use it and the government even supplied the medicine to them FOR FREE.
During that time, it was rediscovered in medical literature that marijuana or cannabis provided relief for diverse medical conditions in addition to glaucoma. These include Cancer and its chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS and its chemotherapy, Alzheimer’s rage, Chronic pain of any kind, chronic nausea from Cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other cause, seizures such as epilepsy, spasm conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, gastrointestinal and skeletal muscle spasm diseases. These are acceptable conditions to get an Oregon Medical Marijuana Permit.
NOTE: No doctor in the universe can diagnose ALL of these medical conditions!
It is certain that euphoria or good feelings have much to do with the effectiveness of marijuana for these diseases, but isn’t this why we take medicines — to make us feel better!
In Oregon, we have a system for changing laws called Referendum by which voter petitioners can request changes in the marijuana law to allow its medical use. The two chief petitioners were a lady with severe multiple sclerosis and a physician with a severe disabling disease of the veins in his legs. This petition got on the ballot and it was passed with a small margin in 1998 and became legal in May 1999.
This “dangerous man,” a physician, was one of the first doctors to sign applications for the Oregon state permits. He signed for permit numbers 13 and 14 for a couple in Prineville.
The Oregon Department of Health Services, which oversees the Oregon Medical Marijuana Office, believed there would be about 500 people who would qualify with one of the above diseases and be eligible for the state permit allowing patients to grow and use marijuana.
With 8,000 doctors in Oregon, our “dangerous doctor” assumed that he might end up with maybe 20 or 30 patients from his patient population of about 2,000.
The two Prineville patients told their friends who told their friends and soon he was getting dozens of telephone calls per day from all over the state. (Eventually, from every county.)
In the first year, to May 1st, 2000, about 600 patients signed by 300 doctors were accepted and approved by the state and given permit cards to grow and use marijuana. The “dangerous doctor” signed about half of the applications. This was his only medical practice.
By the next year, 2001, about 1,700 patients had permits and several hundred more doctors joined in, but our “dangerous doctor” still signed about 40% of the applications.
In 2002, there were about 3,000 patients and even hundreds more doctors joined in. By October 2002, 4,162 patients had permits and even more doctors were signing, but our “dangerous doctor” still had about 40% of the patients and at this time he had signed for about 2,500 patients. In total, 950 Oregon doctors had signed applications, usually one or two for Cancer or AIDS patients.
By this time, the success of the Oregon program was getting national and international attention and stories appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, USA Today, and newspapers in Italy, France, Germany, Russia and Japan, and television programs on CNN, Fox News and every TV station in Oregon.
During this time, somebody started forging his name to the application documents for $300 a pop. It was discovered within a few days. The forger had signed seven, or maybe twelve. About four cards had been issued. The State Police confiscated the fraudulent cards. [But I doubt if the patients stopped using their medicine.]
This forgery business produced all of the publicity mentioned above and the implication was that the state Marijuana Office was not verifying the medical conditions. The state office had no medically-trained staff and still does not.
The State Department of Human Services decided to put a physician as Medical Director of the Medical Marijuana Program. He already had a full-time job. The Marijuana Office was getting about 40 applications a day, so reviewing them would take at least half of each day. [I doubt very much if he reviewed any of them.]
The Board of Medical Examiners thrashed in on this presumption; there couldn’t possibly be this many eligible patients. They focused on the seven patients who had fraudulent cards and because his name was on the forged applications, he must be responsible! They wanted his chart notes which obviously he didn’t have as he had not seen these patients. In fact, he had sent his chart notes into the state office as he had no office or secure place to store them from theft. Other clinics had patient lists stolen and many patients were assaulted and robbed.
The Marijuana Office and the Department of Human Services were probably embarrassed by all this foul-up. The Board of Medical Examiners apparently decided they didn’t want Oregon to be known as the "marijuana state" so…"Let’s get this doctor who has signed all of these applications." The original regulations were extremely ambiguous:
475.326 Attending physician; limitation on civil liability and professional discipline. No attending physician may be subjected to civil penalty of discipline by the Board of Medical Examiners for:
(1) Advising a person whom the attending physician has diagnosed as having a debilitating medical condition, or a person who the attending physician knows has been so diagnosed by another physician licensed under ORS chapter 677, about the risks and benefits of medical use of marijuana or that the use of marijuana may mitigate the symptoms or effects of the person’s debilitating medical condition, provided the advice is based on the attending physician’s personal assessment of the person’s medical history and current medical condition; or
(2) Providing the written documentation necessary for issuance of a registry identification card under ORS 475.309, if the documentation is based on the attending physician’s personal assessment of the applicant’s medical history and current medical condition and the physician has discussed the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana with the applicant. [1999 c.4§9]
The original regulations were extremely ambiguous. He felt the wording attending physician’s personal assessment was key to signing the application and diagnosis by another physician was another acceptable key for signing the applications. He felt that almost all of the acceptable medical conditions required diagnosis by a specialist in that field and that’s how he operated. If fact, if a specialist did the appropriate tests and made the diagnosis, wasn’t this adequate and why charge the patient and send him for a repeat of the same tests and charges when most patients could barely afford the costs of the application and state fees? The regulations seemed clear. The Board of Medical Examiners went right into orbit on that. They promulgated the Leveque Rule with the following requirements, which were promulgated in May 2004:
For the purposes of OAR 333-008-0000 through 333-008-0090, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Attending physician” means a physician who has established a physician/patient relationship with the patient, is licensed under ORS chapter 677, and who, with respect to a patient diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition:
(a) Is primarily responsible for the care and treatment of the patient;
(b) Is primarily responsible for providing medical specialty care and treatment of the patient as recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties;
(c) Has been asked to consult and treat the patient by the patient’s primary care physician who is licensed under ORS chapter 677, a Physician Assistant licensed under ORS Chapter 677, or a Nurse Practitioner licensed under ORS Chapter 678; or
(d) Has reviewed a patient’s medical records at the patient’s request, has conducted a thorough physical examination of the patient, has provided or planned follow-up care, and has documented these activities in the patient’s medical record.
The “dangerous doctor” proceeded with the previous requirements of assessment based on previous doctors’ diagnosis, reviewing the patient’s records, a head-to-toe physical examination performed by a licensed Nurse Practitioner (acceptable by the Medical Board), planned follow-up care (the patients were already successfully self-dosing marijuana), and documented these activities in the patient’s records which were sent in to the state Marijuana Office and a copy kept in the patient’s chart. The state Medical Marijuana Office accepted without question at least 4,000, and maybe 6,000, of his applications.
In March 2004, the Board suspended his medical license and in October they revoked it, publishing in The Oregonian and Associated Press that he was “a danger to all of his patients and the public in general.” This latter was really a shock as no patients complained in any way that they had been harmed. In fact, nearly all returned year after year to renew their permit. Six doctors complained he was stealing patients and “doping them up!”
In December 2005, about 14,000 patients had permits signed by 2,000 physicians. Seventy percent of applications were signed by ten physicians and 800 doctors had signed only one application each.
I know all this because I am the “most dangerous doctor” and though I can no longer sign applications, three other doctors are covering for me and signing no less than 10,000 applications per year.
If anybody thinks they can stop medical marijuana use, they are sadly mistaken.
Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman in WWII, Physician and Toxicologist.
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