Rob Kamermans was tending to a sick toddler in the emergency ward of the Sturgeon Falls, Ont., hospital last summer, when they came to get him.
As astonished staff and patients looked on, two Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers arrested the 67-year-old doctor and charged him with multiple counts of fraud, forgery and money laundering.
Clasping handcuffs around his wrists, they led away the ER’s only physician, capping a short, extraordinary chapter in Canada’s tangled experiment with medical marijuana.
What had piqued the investigators’ interest was Dr. Kamermans’ unofficial reign as Canada’s foremost medical-marijuana physician — a role he says he never asked for, or wanted. Mostly in the course of one year, he signed 4,000 of the forms Health Canada required to let patients consume or grow an otherwise illicit plant. At the time, just 13,000 of the forms had been signed in total across the country. The physician from a town of just a few hundred people, 90 minutes northeast of Peterborough, Ont., had become, either deliberately — if you believe the criminal charges — or accidentally (if you believe the physician), Canada’s most prominent provider of medical pot.
Despite telling patients not to spread the word, demand for his signature grew so great that he would find as many as 30 patients at a time lined up at his homey practice in the Ontario hamlet of Coe Hill. He eventually ran pot clinics from hotel rooms in Montreal, Halifax and Miramichi, N.B.
“He changed the landscape of medical marijuana in Canada,” said Adam Greenblatt of the Medical Cannabis Access Society, a dispensary in Montreal. “[But] it just got out of control for him. It hit a point where everybody knew about him … He was just inundated with patients.”
To those who had been turned away by other physicians, Dr. Kamermans was a “God, an angel from heaven,” said Mr. Greenblatt. To the police, he is an alleged fraudster who endorsed patients ineligible for the controversial treatment — while charging them a tidy $100 to $250 each for the service.
– Read the entire article at National Post.