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Doc's Medical License Goes To Pot

A doctor who signed a third of all medical marijuana cards in Oregon lost his license to practice medicine Wednesday, in what medical regulators and advocates for the drug said marked the first such case in the nine states where marijuana is legal as a medicine.

Dr. Phillip Leveque, 81, a Molalla osteopath, was placed on probation in 2002 for signing medical marijuana applications for patients he had not examined in person and whose medical history he had not reviewed.

Leveque's practice was limited to examining patients for medical marijuana applications, often at large gatherings at hotels around the state.

He also hosted a cable access television show called "Ask Dr. Leveque," in which callers would check to see if their ailments would qualify them for a medical marijuana card.

Leveque said he has signed some 4,000 applications, 33 percent of the 12,000 cards issued in the state.

The Oregon Medical Board objected. In one case, investigators said, Leveque recommended medical marijuana for a 14-year-old girl with a history of depression. He had also signed cards for people who faxed him a description of their medical problem.

The board suspended Leveque's license in March for failing to abide by a 2002 probationary agreement to sign cards only after conducting physicals and reviewing medical records. At an Oct. 15 meeting, the board decided to revoke his license; Leveque was notified of the decision Wednesday.

"They can't go after the patients, so they're going after the doctors," Leveque said. He said he will appeal the decision.

Kathleen Haley, executive director of the Oregon Medical Board, said she knew of no other case of a doctor losing a license for practices related to medical marijuana.

"The board does want patients to have adequate pain control," Haley said. "At the same time, they want to be sure the physician is upholding their responsibility to be sure of the diagnosis."

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