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Jailed Saginaw Medical Marijuana Doctor, Ruth A. Buck, Transfers Nearly 2,000 Saginaw-Area Medical Marijuana Patients To Colleague


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http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/06/jailed_saginaw_medical_marijua.html

SAGINAW — He’s well known simply as “Dr. Bob” in Michigan’s medical marijuana circles.9682277-small.jpg

 

According to state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, he’s Dr. Robert L. Townsend, an Osteopathic Physician, licensed to practice in Michigan.

 

Townsend said he’s practiced as an internist for the last 16 years, but since shed traditional medicine to focus solely on making recommendations for medical marijuana patients.

 

The state website indicates Townsend is based in Kalamazoo, but he’ll be visiting Saginaw Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and plans to meet as many as 25 prospective medical marijuana patients and issue recommendations to those he believes qualify to become medical marijuana patients.

 

He’ll be stationed in the medical marijuana patient screening office Dr. Ruth A. Buck occupied at 2137 Warwick in Saginaw before Drug Enforcement Agents raided it — as well as Buck’s and a coworker’s home — and jailed Buck.

 

Buck is charged in federal court and faces 32 charges related to illegally distributing prescription pills, based on a three-year investigation of her previous Thomas Township office that culminated with a raid in July of 2009.9487054-large.jpg

 

While out on bond, and no longer able to prescribe narcotics because her license had been revoked pending trial, she opened the medical marijuana screening office.

 

The DEA investigated her practice and allege Buck aided and abetted the distribution of marijuana by issuing medical marijuana certification recommendations to undercover informants and officers without proper justification under state law.

 

The federal court is currently reviewing requests that Buck undergo a psyche exam.

 

In the meantime, Buck had issued certifications to 1,900 patients, Townsend said, and with the inability to serve them from behind bars, she reached out for a doctor to take on her clientele.

 

She chose Townsend.

Ruth Buck revocation hearing View full size Alicia Dale | The Bay City Times U.S. Marshalls escort Ruth A. Buck out of the Federal Court Building, 1000 Washington Ave, after a bond hearing.

 

“I was actually requested by Dr. Buck to take over her patients because she new if they were e turned over to me they would be well cared for,” Townsend said. “Dr. Buck has essentially turned her practice over to me, and it’s my job to make sure (her patients) are safe... I will meet with them all again as their certifications need to be renewed.”

 

Additionally, Townsend plans to certify new Saginaw-area medical marijuana patients for $150 per certification.

 

Townsend said, although he said he’s never smoked marijuana himself, he saw “there was a tremendous problem with prescription narcotics.”

 

As he attempted to wean patients from their addictive narcotics, he realized those who succeeded generally supplemented with marijuana — this prior to the medical legalization in Michigan.

 

He said he formed the opinion that marijuana is “a far safe alternative” and “very effective with pain.”

 

Townsend said he travels between offices he operates in Traverse City, Mount Pleasant, Gaylord, Tawas, Cadillac and shortly Saginaw, visiting patients, and claims to have issued “several thousand” recommendations, he guesses between the 10th and 15th most among all Michigan doctors since the law passed in November of 2008.

 

Townsend boasted he’s “never had a certification overturned” because, “quite frankly,” he said,” All of mine have been done correctly.

 

He also said he’s advised regarding the Medical Marijuana Act.

 

“I look at every one as one that I need to face a prosecutor over,” Townsend said. “I will not allow a patient go to jail.”

 

He said his average patient is a “middle-age, working-class worker who wrecked his back” and has “been using marijuana illegally for a couple years and that has finally worked up the courage to get a card.”

 

Townsend said he plans to eventually hire staff to work at the Saginaw office “at least weekly."

 

Townsend hopes to meet with each of his patients in person to conduct face-to-face sessions that take approximately 15 minutes, once the patients' medical histories have been pre-screened; but he said he can also meet remotely using a video link.

 

Says his website: “I am proud to announce a project that will revolutionize the way certifications are performed in Michigan- any patient will have access to a certification from anywhere in the state, patient paperwork can be verified by dispensaries 24 hours a day, we will VASTLY improve our follow up of patients, and data for research into the medical benefit of marijuana will be gathered. You can have a face to face consultation with me from your home in the event you have a change in your condition or have questions.”

 

Titled Michigan Medical Marijuana Network with Dr. Bob and the Certification Crew, Townsend’s website contains more information about his mobile and remote certification clinics and screening requirements.

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Dr. Bob certified a family member of mine and I feel safe with his 'By the Book' practices.

 

I don't know all the facts on Dr. Ruth, but I wonder how many of her patients will withstand the test at renewal time with Dr. Bob.

Hopefully, having Dr. Bob doing their renewal should ease many of their minds, considering their recommending doctor is facing these serious charges.

I'm sure they are wondering about the validation of their cards right now!

 

You're going to be busy Doc! Don't forget about us over here! :D

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