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600 medical marijuana patient licenses invalid following doctor ‘impersonation’

   

There’s no indication the patients knew the person who signed their applications was impersonating a doctor, health officials say

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — About 600 medical marijuana patient cards are invalid after the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) discovered at least one person had impersonated a doctor and signed off on the applications.

Missouri’s health department announced its investigation Friday afternoon, noting there is no evidence at this time to indicate the patients knew the person they met with was not the real physician.

DHSS discovered the impersonation when it conducted a routine check-in with the doctor whose signature appeared on the applications, and the unnamed doctor affirmed he or she did not sign the applications, spokeswoman Lisa Cox told The Missouri Times.

As the physician certification for these cards is not valid, patients have been notified and must submit a valid certification to DHSS within 30 days, the health department said. If a new, valid certification is not submitted, then the patient’s license will be revoked with a pro-rated refund of the registration fee for the amount of time left on the deactivated license provided.

“Through our many types of regulatory efforts, we remain watchful for any wrongdoing in order to protect Missourians,” Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, said in a statement. “Our main concern is how this fraudulent activity negatively affects patients, and we are working to minimize the impact on them while also holding accountable those who are responsible.”

The department has approved more than 52,600 patient applications so far.

DHSS has referred this case to the Attorney General’s Office and to the Missouri Board of Healing Arts for further action, it said in a Friday news release.

Earlier this week, DHSS announced it had approved two medical marijuana companies to officially open in Missouri.

Anyone with information can contact the medical marijuana program call center at 866-219-0165 during weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or by email at medicalmarijuana@health.mo.gov, the department said.