TACOMA, Wash. -- Two years ago, before Washington’s medical marijuana industry went completely nuts, Scott Havsy was without question Tacoma’s top pot doc.
He seemed like an outrageous radical at the time.
Unlike most mainstream doctors, Havsy had no qualms about authorizing marijuana for patients he believed were qualified under the state’s medical marijuana law.
He advertised widely, urging patients to come and get their “green cards.” By his own estimate, he wrote authorizations for 80 percent of the patients who asked for them.
Now though, with at least 150 marijuana retail outlets in Western Washington – more than 40 in Tacoma alone – demand for the cards has fueled a profitable and competitive industry: clinics that exist solely to churn out the authorizations and whose standards make Havsy’s seem quaint in comparison.
Because patient records are confidential, it’s impossible to know how many of the cards are bogus, but anecdotal evidence suggests authorizers have strayed from the legislative requirements that patients have “terminal or debilitating” conditions.
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