Colorado Dr. Joseph Montante has been convicted of improperly recommending medical marijuana after being visited by an undercover police officer.
In a tape recording obtained by CBS4 from the visit Montante can be heard asking if the undercover officer had any pain. The officer then told Montante that he hurt his ankle several years ago playing basketball in high school.
“So I guess I had better look at your ankle right?” replied Dr. Montante.
In Colorado, medical marijuana law states that there must be a bona fide relationship between the doctor and the patient. While some are questioning the police investigations due to the fact that recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, drug investigators claim that the doctor’s supervision is now more important than ever for patients age 18 to 21 who are eligible for medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana. Officials worry that underage patients may try to heat the medical marijuana system in order to be on par with their older peers who have access to recreational weed.
Montante claims that he “never attempted to deceive anyone” and that he has never recommended medical marijuana to anyone who did not need it. The doctor claims he was entrapped by an undercover officer who lied to get into his office.
Montante has been sentenced to thirty days in prison and three years probation. His medical license has been suspended. His attorney feels the punishment is not appropriate to the crime and plans to appeal.
It is unclear just how many medical marijuana recommendations Montante provided to patients, but his license suspension may invalidate the recommendations of legitimate patients, forcing them to spend time and money getting a new recommendation.