In the six years since New Mexico legalized medical marijuana, Dr. Nicholas Nardacci has cleared more than 1,000 patients to use it — a tenth of all the patients certified across the state in that period — for conditions ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis to post-traumatic stress disorder.
He even uses it himself to treat chronic back pain.
But now the New Mexico Medical Board has suspended Nardacci’s license, claiming among other violations that he certified patients without proper documentation and that he examined and treated patients while under the influence of marijuana himself.
Nardacci is the first practitioner to be sanctioned by the board on allegations of misusing the state’s 2007 medical cannabis law, in a case that could represent one of the first tests of the law’s limits. Another practitioner who received a notice of contemplated action entered into a settlement agreement with the board.
Nardacci, who is appealing the board’s decision, claims the case against him is not supported by the board’s own investigation and is rife with conflicts of interest. He also asserts the campaign against him is really an effort by the board to show that New Mexico has tight oversight over its medical cannabis program so the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency won’t seek to enforce federal drug laws against patients in New Mexico. While using cannabis is allowed for certified patients in the state, it is still a controlled substance under federal law.
“It’s a very thin case,” Nardacci said. “But they needed a target to put in the paper and say, ‘We are doing a good job; we are tough with our program.’ So they got me. They rolled me under the bus to make an example of somebody so they can show the program is tight.
“I’m ruined because of this,” he added. “With this on my record, I can’t work at a popcorn stand.”
– Read the entire article at The New Mexican.