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Judge Backs Doctor In Medical Marijuana Case

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – An administrative law judge Tuesday sided with a physician who was accused by the state of having improper ties to a medical-marijuana dispensary and not adequately evaluating an undercover investigator who sought approval to use marijuana.

Judge Garnett Chisenhall issued a 28-page recommended order that called for state health officials to dismiss the allegations against Gainesville-area physician Justin C.K. Davis.

Under administrative law, the recommendation will go back to the Florida Department of Health for final action.

The case, in part, involves allegations that Davis had improper economic ties to Trulieve, the state's largest medical-marijuana dispensing company.

Davis sublet office space from a Trulieve dispensary in Lady Lake, but Chisenhall concluded that the arrangement did not violate a legal prohibition on doctors having a "direct or indirect economic interest" in medical-marijuana firms.

"It is reasonable to infer that greater access to qualifying physicians aided Trulieve's business and that being in close proximity to a medical marijuana dispensary facilitated the acquisition of patients by Dr. Davis and Trulieve," Chisenhall wrote. "However, the greater weight of the evidence demonstrates that Dr. Davis and other qualifying physicians were not receiving a discount on those subleases. Also, there is no persuasive evidence that Dr. Davis referred qualified patients to Trulieve or that Trulieve referred prospective patients to Dr. Davis."

Also, Chisenhall rejected allegations that Davis had served as a "rubber stamp" when an undercover investigator, identified only by initials, sought approval to use medical marijuana for purported post-traumatic stress disorder.

"K.B.'s testimony indicated that Dr. Davis had a meaningful discussion about her PTSD symptoms and probably would have had a more in-depth discussion if K.B. had not been intentionally evasive," Chisenhall wrote. "Furthermore, the preponderance of the competent substantial evidence in this case demonstrates that Dr. Davis performed a meaningful review of (the investigator's) medical history and symptoms, meaningfully discussed … PTSD symptoms with K.B., and in no way acted as a 'rubber stamp' of the prescription written."

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