LANSING- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith today announced the filing of criminal charges against two Metro Detroit individuals for their alleged roles in a for-profit medical marijuana operation that included the sale of falsified medical marijuana physician certifications.
An investigation by Clinton Township Police revealed that Dr. Lois Butler-Jackson, 50, of Detroit, allegedly issued hundreds of falsified medical marijuana Physician's Certificates that were then sold for cash by medical marijuana business partner Brian Deloose, 33, of Warren, out of the back of his Warren appliance store also advertised as the location for the so-called "Safe Access Clinic."
"This law was intended to help a narrow group of seriously ill individuals, but criminals are exploiting it for illegal activity that puts everyone's safety at risk," said Schuette.
""This is the abuse we anticipated with this statute: certification mills churning out rubberstamp certifications for recreational weed," said Smith. "We won't tolerate it."
To comply with state law governing medical marijuana use, patients must be certified to participate in the Medical Marihuana Program by a physician licensed to practice in Michigan. A physician must complete a full assessment of the patient's medical history in the course of a bona-fide physician-patient relationship. A signed physician certificate is then provided to the State as part of the patient's formal application to the program.
An undercover investigation conducted by the Clinton Township Police Department from November 2010 through February 2011 indicated that Dr. Lois Butler-Jackson, a licensed medical doctor, allegedly pre-signed falsified medical marijuana Physician Certification forms that were later sold by Brian Deloose. Deloose allegedly sold hundreds of medical marijuana registration packets, complete with the Physician Certificates pre-signed by Butler-Jackson, to prospective patients for $250 each. Butler-Jackson allegedly received a $100 payment from Deloose for each new registration packet and $50 for each renewal packet sold at the Warren appliance store
During the course of the investigation, undercover Clinton Township officers were able to purchase completed packets with certificates signed by Dr. Butler-Jackson without ever meeting her in person or obtaining her review of their medical records. Those same officers returned with the original applications 20 days later to purchase marijuana from Deloose's appliance store.
The following criminal charges were filed by Schuette and Smith against Butler-Jackson:
One count of Placing Misleading/Inaccurate Information in Medical Records/Charts, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine; and
One count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
The following criminal charges were filed by Schuette and Smith against Deloose:
One count of Placing Misleading/Inaccurate Information in Medical Records/Charts, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine;
One count of Conspiracy to Commit a Legal Act in an Illegal Manner, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine;
Two counts of Delivery of Marijuana, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine; and
One count of Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Arrangements are being made for the defendants to turn themselves in to authorities, and they are expected to be arraigned in 37th District Court in Warren. Prosecution will be handled jointly by Schuette's Criminal Division and the Macomb County Prosecutor's office.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
In a separate civil action, Butler-Jackson also faces formal disciplinary proceedings initiated by Schuette on behalf of the Bureau of Health Professions, an agency within the State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Butler-Jackson is scheduled to appear at a contested case hearing before an administrative law judge on July 18, 2011. At the hearing, Butler-Jackson will respond to allegations that she violated the Public Health Code. The ultimate sanction against Butler-Jackson will be determined by the Michigan Board of Medicine.