Top pot doc still practicing — two of top three still suspended

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BOSTON — While the state has suspended two of the top three medicinal marijuana-prescribing doctors, the physician at the top of the list continues to maintain her Northampton practice, a review of records shows.

According to the results of a Freedom of Information Act filing with the state Board of Registry in Medicine, Dr. Jill Griffin has issued approximately 6,362 medical marijuana cards since dispensaries opened a year ago.

A total of 53,333 cards have been issued state-wide. Griffin’s practice accounts for about 12 percent of Massachusetts cards.

The Board of Registry in Medicine within the last month has suspended the practices of two physicians, Dr. John C. Nadolny and Dr. Tyrone S. Cushing, for delegating the non-transferable authority to “diagnose patients as having a debilitating medical condition” to unlicensed nurses.

Prior to their suspensions, Nadolny had issued 5,792 cards, and Cushing had issued 4,649. The trio has collectively issued about 32 percent of all medical marijuana cards issued in Massachusetts. There are 149 doctors that are licensed to prescribe the drug in the Bay State.

A message left with Griffin’s office Thursday has not yet been returned, although her answering service indicated she will be out of the office until July 5 and that her practice is “currently full and not able to see new patients at this time.”

Media reports over the last few years indicate that Griffin has been a pioneering leader in the field. According to an Amherst Wire report that ran last December, Griffin has been a practicing physician for more than 20 years and has spent more than 300 hours of research on cannabis and endocannabinoid medicine. Griffin apparently told the Wire’s reporter that she would not be commenting on the story and indicated she feels that she’s been previously misquoted and misrepresented.

In January 2014, Griffin penned a guest column for the Milford Daily News in which she outlined the benefits of medicinal marijuana, pointing to her treatment of an elderly woman who had been suffering from chronic pain. Griffin noted in her column that she refused to prescribe the 90-year-old woman with marijuana. The woman, however, managed to find her own supplier.

“When I checked on her two days later she looked and felt significantly better,” recalled Griffin. “What was different? She had begun using marijuana. And so began my education in the medicinal uses of cannabis.”

Griffin also noted that a large percentage of her patients use cannabis for medicinal purposes but don’t “get high.”

“Cannabis that can’t get you high and you don’t have to smoke it? Correct,” Griffin pointed out. “Out of necessity, patients have devised numerous ways to safely take their medicine.

“And speaking of safety – medicinal cannabis is the safest medication I have ever recommended.”

An online search also shows that Griffin has produced several brief educational videos in which she instructs viewers on the state laws governing the policy.

In one video, Griffin reminds viewers that while patients possess cards that do not expire for three years, they still must visit their doctors annually for reauthorization. She has also posted videos informing viewers about the state requirements for the “debilitating medical condition” qualification needed for doctors to prescribe the cards.

“The reason you can qualify is under law it (the medical condition) must interfere with major life activities,” Griffin noted in the video.

Read the full list of medical marijuana-prescribing doctors:

2016-6-3 MMJ Physician Active Certification Counts Responsive by Evan