Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses Disciplinary Decision Regarding Marijuana Use

States across the nation have slowly started to legalize recreational use of marijuana and medicinal use of marijuana. Ingesting the substance is no longer the anti-social behavior it once was. The stigma is all been removed from marijuana users. However, use of any substance, whether legal or not, that impairs one’s ability to perform their duties to the degree required by law is committing a violation of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board of Pharmacy as well as state law. Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger aggressively represents clients facing professional discipline and draws upon her vast experience to defend her clients and protect their livelihood.

In January of 2017, the Missouri Board of Pharmacy (“the Board”) issued a disciplinary order against a pharmacist for her marijuana use. The pharmacist previously faced disciplinary action in Colorado where she was once a licensed pharmacist. In Missouri, she tested positive for marijuana use. During her disciplinary hearing, the pharmacist testified that she had used marijuana since 2008. However, the pharmacist testified that she experienced migraine headaches which caused nausea and dizziness. According to the licensee, she took the marijuana to ease her symptoms.

The question before the Board was whether the pharmacist should be disciplined because of her medicinal marijuana use. The pharmacist argued that although the Board could discipline her license, the Board should decline to exercise their right to do so. In support of her argument, the pharmacist cited the fact that she only used marijuana eight or ten times and only after a prescription migraine medication failed to relieve her migraine symptoms. The licensee argued that the Board should treat marijuana differently than other Schedule I drugs because of marijuana’s medicinal properties that have been recognized in the medical community. Furthermore, the pharmacist argued that the Board should not discipline her license because she was trying to obtain employment in a hospital. She was working in retail pharmacy but wanted to change careers.

The Board countered the pharmacist’s argument by claiming that the pharmacist had other therapeutic options available to her. For example, the Board pointed out that the licensee could have sought relief from prescription medications. The Board further elicited evidence from the pharmacist that the state of her headaches did not change when she used marijuana. Finally, the pharmacist agreed that her license is subject to discipline and agreed to oversight even though she did not believe it was necessary.

The Board chose to impose discipline on the pharmacist’s license. The Board placed the pharmacist on probation for two years instead of suspension or revocation. During the probationary period, the pharmacist was prohibited from acting as a pharmacist in charge, teach, or act as a consultant. The pharmacist was also ordered to provide documents within three (3) days of the Board’s request. Also, the Board’s disciplinary order obligates the pharmacist to attend interviews when deemed necessary by the Board and otherwise cooperate with the Board’s demands, if any.

The Board issued orders to ensure that the pharmacist remained drug-free. The Board ordered her to submit to drug testing by urinalysis, or analysis of her blood, hair, skin, or saliva. Furthermore, the Board added a term that the pharmacist must give the disciplinary order to her employers.

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Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger has earned her reputation as a zealous advocate for professional licensees in Missouri. Attorney Sanger has dedicated her career to representing professionals who are facing licensing discipline. Her vast experience and dedication to her clients separates her from other attorneys. Call Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation and learn how Attorney Sanger can make the difference for you.