Pot doctors in trouble with medical board
November 2, 2010
A Central Valley marijuana clinic owned by a Morro Bay locksmith is under fire for hiring doctors on probation with the California Medical Board. [Fresno Bee]
Pacific Referral owner Kim Valois hired Dr. Juanita Gandy of Morro Bay and Dr. Bernard Smyle of Ventura to work at her Fresno based pot clinic. Valois told the Fresno Bee that both physicians are competent and are complying with the conditions of their probations.
Some experts contend medical-marijuana clinics attract doctors who have troubled histories. While many doctors fervently believe in the benefits of medical marijuana, just a few dozen doctors write most of the medical-marijuana recommendations in the state
And they can make $150 or more for each one — creating the potential for a seven-figure annual income. Valois’ clinic charges $75 for an evaluation.
“It’s an unregulated, highly profitable, quasi-criminal enterprise,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University.
Smyle, 54, a pediatrician, was placed on seven years probation on Sept. 30, 2009, for sexual misconduct with at least 30 female parents of his patients. He examined women’s feet to satisfy his sexual fetish, the medical board found.
During his probation, Smyle is required to have a third party chaperone present while examining or treating female patients or patients accompanied by a female. In addition, he is prohibited from working as a solo practitioner.
Gandy, an internist, was placed on five years’ probation on Dec. 21, 2009, for prescribing narcotics including oxycontin, ritalin and actiq to a boyfriend.
Smyle and Gandy are not the only medical-marijuana doctors practicing on the Central Coast who have faced disciplinary action.
Thomas Sazani, an Orcutt physician known for authorizing medical marijuana cards, was place on three years probation on June 1, for prescribing Viagra over the Internet to patients he had not examined. He is required to hire another physician to monitor his practice, enroll in medical courses in both ethics and prescribing practices and to maintain records of all controlled substances ordered.
Former co-workers accuse San Luis Obispo physician Atsuko Rees of writing medical marijuana recommendations for almost anyone who asked including a 15-year-old boy with a note from his mother, while not claiming the bulk of payments for the visits as income.
Rees is currently under investigation by several agencies, though at this time there have been no disciplinary actions taken, according to her former coworkers.