Florida Judge Exonerates Doctor Accused of Violating Medical Cannabis Law

A Florida judge ruled that Dr. Joseph Dorn didn’t violate state law when he approved two undercover police officers who were posing as PTSD patients for the state’s medical cannabis program.

Full story after the jump.

A Florida administrative law judge last week ruled that Dr. Joseph Dorn didn’t do anything wrong when he ordered medical cannabis for two undercover investigators posing as patients, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The state Department of Health (DOH) had sought to revoke Dorn’s medical license for five years, permanently ban him from recommending medical cannabis, and impose a $10,000 fine.

The Health Department had alleged Dorn violated state law by not performing physicals on the undercover agents who posed as patients seeking medical cannabis cards, which they called employing a “trick or scheme” in the practice of medicine.

Dorn has practiced medicine in Florida for more than 30 years and the allegations stem from a 2019 complaint related to the sting.

In his order, Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins recommended that the complaint against Dorn be dismissed, saying that health officials “failed to present competent substantial evidence, in this case, establishing … that Dr. Dorn acted, or failed to act, in any manner to defraud or trick any patient, or that any patient was actually defrauded or tricked,” according to the Democrat report.

“The evidence of record undermines DOH’s argument that Dr. Dorn’s practice is nothing more than an ‘open gate’ to medical marijuana. In the case of both [undercover agent] O.G. and [undercover agent] B.D. (and presumably the other 28 patients examined), Dr. Dorn conducted a detailed and thorough assessment of the patient’s condition prior to prescribing medical marijuana. Furthermore, the preponderance of the competent substantial evidence in this case demonstrates that Dr. Dorn performed a meaningful review of O.G. and B.D.’s medical history and symptoms, identified and discussed their qualifying stressors, and noted the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms being experienced by each.” – Watkins, in his opinion, via the Democrat

Under administrative law, the order will go to the Health Department for final action.

In a prepared statement following the ruling, Dorn’s attorney, Ryan Andrews, accused the state of “inflicting crippling stress and pain” on his client as the doctor continued to treat patients following the investigation. Andrews threatened to take legal action against state officials involved in the complaint.

“This action didn’t sound in good faith and now it’s our turn to seek justice and right this wrong against everyone involved,” Andrews said in the statement. “This entire action against Dr. Dorn is an embarrassment and disservice to the state of Florida. Dr. Dorn is excited to continue treating patients without these baseless and harmful accusations hanging over his head.”

The Health Department did not comment on the ruling.

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