CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – State officials have suspended the license of a Macomb County doctor they say conspired to sell medical marijuana certificates from a clinic in the back of an appliance store.
Attorney General Bill Schuette and state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Steven Hilfinger announced the 50-year-old Detroit woman’s suspension on Tuesday.
An undercover investigation conducted by the Clinton Township Police Department from November 2010 through February 2011 indicated that Dr. Lois Butler-Jackson, a licensed medical doctor, allegedly pre-signed medical marijuana physician certification forms that were later sold by Brian Deloose, 33, of Warren.
Deloose, a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, allegedly sold hundreds of medical marijuana registration packets, complete with the physician certificates pre-signed by Butler-Jackson, to prospective patients for $250 each out of the back of his Warren appliance store – which also advertised as the location for the so-called “Safe Access Clinic.”
The Michigan medical marijuana program is a state registry program within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which also licenses health professionals.
“The law requires that there must be an established physician/patient relationship with a Michigan M.D. or D.O. as one of the steps for medical marijuana certification. Failure to do so could result in disciplinary action against the medical professional’s licensure,” Hilfinger said in a statement.
Hilfinger noted that before a patient may be certified to participate in the medical marijuana program, a physician must complete a full assessment of the patient’s medical history in the course of a bona-fide physician-patient relationship. A signed physician certificate is then provided to the State as part of the patient’s formal application to the program.
The administrative complaint filed by Schuette alleges that Butler-Jackson neither conducted a formal examination nor reviewed any medical records for the vast majority of patients she certified for the state medical marijuana program.
According to the complaint, Butler-Jackson allegedly received a $100 payment from Deloose for each new registration packet and $50 for each renewal packet sold at the Warren appliance store. It is alleged Butler-Jackson made between $20,000 and $30,000 in profits from the packet sales.
When prospective medical marijuana patients approached Deloose, he allegedly filled out the application forms and then instructed applicants to mail the forms and certificates pre-signed by Butler-Jackson to the Bureau of Health Professions. It is alleged that Deloose would then instruct the patients to return 20 days later to purchase marijuana.
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act provides that if an applicant sends in a complete application that is not processed within 20 days, then a copy of the application will act as a valid medical marijuana registration card.
During the course of the investigation, undercover officers were able to purchase completed packets with certificates signed by Dr. Butler-Jackson without ever meeting her in person or obtaining her review of their medical records. Those same officers returned with the original applications 20 days later to purchase marijuana from Deloose’s appliance store.
In December 2010, Clinton Township Police executed search warrants and recovered blank, pre-signed physician certification forms as well as copies of 312 completed medical marijuana physician certification forms with Butler-Jackson’s certifying signature.
The complaint filed against Butler-Jackson alleges three violations of the public health code: one count of negligence, one count of incompetence and one count of lack of good moral character.