Now, if you are in chronic, unrelenting pain Dr. Phillip Leveque could be
your best friend. Oregon has a law allowing people with debilitating
conditions like cancer or glaucoma or AIDS to legally use marijuana. But
get this, of the 2,000 Oregonians who have gotten permission, roughly half
were approved by Dr. Leveque. Is this a man a doctor feel good? Or is he
willing to go where others will not in order to relieve pain? Dr. Phillip
Leveque joins us now from Portland. Good evening. Thanks for being with us
Dr. Leveque.

DR. PHILLIP LEVEQUE, THE "POT" DOCTOR: You're very welcome. Glad to be
here. COOPER: All right. I have to start by asking you've granted 49.7
percent of Oregon's medical marijuana cards since this law was enacted
almost three years ago. Why so many?

LEVEQUE: Because approximately 7,500 doctors in Oregon have not even signed
one application.

COOPER: Why is that?

LEVEQUE: They're afraid of George Bush. They're afraid of John Ashcroft.
And they are afraid of the Oregon board of medical examiners.

COOPER: Well, the Oregon board of medical examiners has now sanctioned you,
and in April it will be considering what their ruling is going to be. Why
do you think they are targeting you?

LEVEQUE: Well, I really don't understand that because the Oregon medical
marijuana law says that the physicians should look at the patient's
previous medical records, and their own personal medical history and it
doesn't say that the physician has to see the patient and it doesn't say
that the doctor has to do a physical examination on the patient. And the
fact of the pat matter is for the first 900 patients for whom I signed, I
did not do a physical examination on. And many, well, I won't say many that
I didn't see, but I do not require quadriplegic, paraplegic multiple
sclerosis, epileptics, cerebral palsy, blind patients to actually come to
see me. And --

COOPER: But, doctor, some would say that seems somewhat questionable. I
mean, whether it's on the books as the law or not, it does seem common
sense that a doctor should perhaps see the patient, before prescribing
medicine to that patient.

LEVEQUE: Please understand, no physician in the United States can prescribe
marijuana, and I do not prescribe marijuana.

COOPER: Okay. But --

LEVEQUE: "The New York Times" article was incorrect in that statement. No
doctor in the United States can prescribe marijuana and I do not.

COOPER: Right. But you signed prescription cards for these patients?

LEVEQUE: No, I don't.

COOPER: New --

LEVEQUE: That is false also. What I do, if the patient has one of the nine
medical conditions authorized by the state of Oregon, and please understand
that it's the state of Oregon who names these nine medical conditions, the
way the law was set up, if a patient has one of those nine medical
conditions. All they have to do is go to their regular doctor and say,
doctor, I have one of these nine medical conditions, will you please sign
my application? They won't do it. They're afraid of whatever.

COOPER: Do you think most doctors are not willing to do deal with chronic
pain? I mean, I understand --

LEVEQUE: Oh, that's true too. Absolutely. Yes.

COOPER: I understand, though, that you are sanctioned in the past, that
you're actually on probation for 10 years for prescribing pain medication
inappropriately in the medical board's opinion.

LEVEQUE: That was their opinion. I taught pharmacology and toxicology for
over 30 years. If I don't know what the effects of these drugs are, I don't
think think anybody else does either.

Now, what happen to me was, I graduated from medical school at the age of
54. The last -- the last three years that I was a medical school professor,
I was a full-time professor and a full-time student at the osteopathic
school in Des Moines, Iowa.

And I was a new boy on the block and the new boy on the block. And the new
boy on the block gets all of the difficult patients that no other doctor
wants to see. And I did have about 30 severely pained patients, chronic
pain patients that other doctors literally dumped on me. Go to see that
guy. So I was taking care of about 30 severely chronic pain patients.

COOPER: Doctor, what do you think is going to happen to you? The medical
board can either revoke your license, they can restrict your practice, they
can fine you or some combination of all those?

LEVEQUE: I have really no idea. I have -- the regulations controlling me as
a physician, signing applications are very specific.

COOPER: But my understanding, though, is that you have not kept records for
some 900 patients?

LEVEQUE: That's not true either. That's not true either.

COOPER: No?

LEVEQUE: The two forms -- the two forms that the medical marijuana office
sends to the patients. One of them is called the patient application form
and the other, the attending physician statement. And that is the medical
record that I had, that was the only one which was required. And I sent
that medical record to the medical marijuana office is what they wanted me
to do. So I did send them their medical records that they demanded.

COOPER: All right, Dr. Leveque. I'm afraid that is all the time we have
tonight. The state board will determine in April what exactly they are
going to do, if anything, and we appreciate you being here to talk about
your case on THE POINT.

LEVEQUE: Very good. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thanks very much. Coming up, a look behind Olympic glory.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002
Source: CNN (US Web)
Show: The Point
Copyright: 2002 Cable News Network, Inc
Contact: cnn.feedback@cnn.com
Website: http://www.cnn.com/
Transcript: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0202/11/tpt.00.html
Hosts: Anderson Cooper
Guest: Dr. Phillip Leveque