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Hank Investigates

Medical Marijuana: New Draft Regulations

Today the state revealed its proposed regulations for medical marijuana. Since January it's been legal in Massachusetts for people to use pot WITH A DOCTORS PERMISSION if they have a "debilitating disease". But a 7NEWS producer was perfectly healthy and it was shockingly easy for her to get a doctor's okay to use marijuana in an exclusive 7NEWS investigation. Now officials tell us they're hoping these new rules will change that.

Caught on camera by our undercover producer: What this Massachusetts doctor is doing—and this one would be PROHIBITED under newly proposed Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations.

Our producer was completely healthy when she visited two local clinics asking for marijuana. Each time, she paid 200 dollars, spent less than seven minutes with a doctor and showed them nothing but x-rays of a yellow Labrador with arthritis. But she came away with a free pass to grow and use a sixty day supply of medical marijuana.

Hank: "What did you think when you saw that?"

Dr. Lauren Smith, Massachusetts Department Public Health: "It was disappointing, and I'm sure that now that our regs are out, people will understand that we have a very different expectation about how physicians are going to be practicing."

These new regulations make it clear - a doctor must:

*Conduct a clinical visit

*Complete a full assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition

*Explain the potential benefits and risks of marijuana use

*Have a role in the ongoing treatment of the patient.

Dr. Lauren Smith, Massachusetts Department Public Health: "We wouldn't expect someone to stop in, see someone, have a quick conversation and never see them again."

The state's board of registration in medicine, which polices Massachusetts doctors, calls our findings "troubling." Officials told us:

"The Board expects Massachusetts physicians to always comply with these accepted standards of care and use best practices in treating patients. When we have reason to believe this is not happening, we look into it."

The draft regulations are now open for comment and a public hearing will be held in April. The final regulations are expected in May.

For more information on medical marijuana and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's draft regulations click here.