Health officials in Florida are asking an administrative law judge to permanently ban a physician from recommending medical cannabis for patients, suspend his medical license for five years, and fine him $10,000 following an investigation that found he violated state law by not performing physicals on undercover agents posing as patients seeking medical cannabis cards, WFSU Public Media reports.
The proposed penalties by the Health Department against Joseph Dorn — who has practiced in Florida for more than 30 years — date back to a 2019 complaint alleging that the physician violated state law by failing to conduct physical examinations of “Patient O.G.” and “Patient B.D.” The department also accuses him of employing a “trick or scheme” in the practice of medicine, the report says.
Ryan Andrews, Dorn’s attorney, said his client didn’t do anything wrong and that the Department of Health “intentionally” tricked Dorn “into ordering medical marijuana for B.D. and O.G. based on their presentation of unlawful falsehoods concerning their qualifying conditions (i.e., PTSD and anxiety, inter alia),” according to a proposed recommended order outlined by WFSU.
Health Department attorneys argue that Dorn failed to “appropriately vet his patients” and follow a 2017 law requiring doctors to use certain procedures before determining whether patients are eligible for medical cannabis.
“Instead of recognizing this responsibility, the respondent (Dorn) used his designation as a qualified physician to liberally qualify patients to receive medical marijuana by only performing perfunctory consultations and ignoring many of the requirements imposed by the Legislature,” said the agency’s lawyers in their proposed recommended order.
Andrews added in his recommended order that the Florida Health Department doesn’t include facts about any of Dorn’s many genuine patients. Instead, because the undercover agents lied about their conditions, “it was impossible for Dr. Dorn to have concluded that the benefits of medical marijuana outweighed the risks for O.G. and B.D., placing Dr. Dorn in a position of ‘heads I win tails you lose’ in favor of the health department.”
Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins, who held a hearing in Dorn’s case in October, is considering the proposed recommended orders, which were submitted last Thursday.