California Cannabis Research Medical Group


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Autumn 2005
Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group

Dr. Denney Advises Shasta County Officials:
Confidentiality Concerns May Keep Patients From Getting Cards

Philip A. Denney, MD, cannot count the times he has had to intervene on behalf of patients whose right to medicate with cannabis has been sabotaged by Probation and Parole Departments and other government agencies. Denney has tried, as a concerned citizen and an authority in his field, to influence policy; but his efforts often fall on deaf ears.

The letter in the box at right to David A. Reiter, Administrator of the Alcohol/Drug Program of the Shasta County Department of Mental Health, typifies Denney’s effort —and the bureaucratic response. It was written in May and never answered.

Denney is heartened by the CHP’s revised policy on medical marijuana. “Having worked as a doctor on a jail ward, I know the esteem in which the CHP is held within the law enforcement community,” he says. “I hope all concerned follow their lead and make a commitment to abide by California law.”

Denney has been having “an ongoing battle” with the Department of Corrections over the right of a Shasta County patient to use cannabis. “They’re still saying that even though someone has a right to use cannabis, and even if someone has an I.D. card, they’re still going to assess each case on a case-by-case basis. In other words, they’re going to practice medicine by deciding if the condition is ‘serious enough.’ That, I would argue, is illegal. The appelate court ruling in the Sparks case makes that very clear: it’s the doctor’s job to decide whether it’s a serious condtion.

“ In this case the patient went through the process of Shasta County and actually got an order from a Superior Court judge allowing him to use cannabis while under court supervision. Someone from the Department of Corrections told me over the phone they don’t care about the court order! I said, ‘What do you mean? Are you telling me you’re going to ignore a court order?’

“ It’s an ongoing fight.”


O'Shaughnessy's is the journal of the CCRMG/SCC. Our primary goals are the same as the stated goals of any reputable scientific publication: to bring out findings that are accurate, duplicable, and useful to the community at large. But in order to do this, we have to pursue parallel goals such as removing the impediments to clinical research created by Prohibition, and educating our colleagues, co-workers and patients as we educate ourselves about the medical uses of cannabis.
The Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC) was formed in the Autumn of 2004 by the member physicians of CCRMG to aid in the promulgation of voluntary standards for clinicians engaged in the recommendation and approval of cannabis under California law (HSC §11362.5).

As the collaborative effort continues to move closer to issueing guidelines, this site serves as a public venue for airing and discussing these guidelines.

Visit the SCC Site for more information.