Michigan MMJ program criticized for doctor certifications

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Michigan’s medical marijuana program has come under criticism after a state audit found that a small number of doctors were responsible for certifying tens of thousands of patients for MMJ, a finding that raises questions about the state’s oversight of the industry.

An audit by the state of Michigan released Thursday found that one physician certified more than 11,800 medical marijuana patients in one year, or about 14% of all the medical cannabis patients in the state.

Another 22 doctors certified almost 47,000 patients in 2015, or about 56% of all patients, the audit said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Those figures average out to about eight certifications per day.

Audit authors faulted Michigan medical marijuana program officials for not verifying doctor certifications and making it easier to write fraudulent recommendations, according to the Associated Press.

More than 246,000 medical marijuana card applications and card renewals were processed by Michigan in 2015, according to the Detroit News.

The state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, in response to criticism that lack of oversight was enabling the issuance of fraudulent MMJ cards, began auditing medical marijuana card recommendations in September, according to reports.

Based on a 261-day work year, the doctor who issued 11,800 recommendations would have had to give recommendations to 45 patients per day on average, the audit said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Doctors generally see 11-20 patients a day, according to a 2014 survey by the Physicians Foundation, the Detroit Free Press reported.