Pubdate: Wed, 01 Mar 2006
Source: Anderson Valley Advertiser (CA)
Column: Cannabinotes
Copyright: 2006 Anderson Valley Advertiser
Author: Fred Gardner
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Philip A. Denney, MD,)


Early in February an anonymous concerned citizen sent Philip A. 
Denney, MD, documents revealing that two of the patients he'd 
examined at his Redding office in the Fall of 2005 had misled him. A 
report filed by one of the poseurs, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and 
Firearms agent, was quoted extensively here last week. The second 
infiltrator, a civilian confidential informant, was the source of the 
following "investigative narrative" by Redding PD officer Tracy Miller:

On 09-21-05 at approximately 1415 hours, Redding Police Department 
Investigator WALLACE, DEA Agent HALE, and I met and conducted a 
briefing regarding using a confidential informant to make a 
controlled buy of a marijuana prescription.

After finishing the briefing, Investigator WALLACE went to the area 
of 1522 Charles drive, which is the office of Dr. Philip A. DENNEY. 
Investigator WALLACE got into a position that he could watch the 
doctor's office from the street.

Agent HALE and I met with the CI, hereafter known as CI#3. I checked 
CI#3's person for contraband and money, while Agent HALE checked 
CI#3'S vehicle. Neither Agent Hale nor I located any money or 
contraband. Due to the fact this transaction was gong to be taking 
place in a doctor's office, we chose not to fit CI#3 with a covert 
transmitter or monitoring device. Instead we maintained communication 
with CI#3 via cell phone. I gave CI#3 $200.00 in recorded funds of 
the purchase of the marijuana prescription.

Agent HALE and I followed CI#3 from our prearranged meeting point to 
1522 Charles Crive in Redding, California. As soon as CI#3 turned 
onto Charles Drive, Investigator WALLACE advised that he had CI#3 in 
view. CI#3 parked directly in front of 1522 Charles Drive, got out of 
his/her vehicle and at 1543 hours went inside the doctor's office.

While we were waiting for CI#3 to complete the transaction, an 
unknown female came out of the doctor's office, walked around CI#3's 
vehicle once, specifically looking at his/er license plate, then went 
back inside.

At 1630 hours, CI#3 came out of the doctor's office and called Agent 
HALE'S cell phone. CI#3 said they had been granted the prescription 
but they had to wait for the certificate to be filled out, and that 
would take approximately 15 minutes. CI#3 then went back inside the 
office to wait for the prescription to be filled out.

At approximately 1648 hours, CI#3 exited the doctor's office carrying 
a green folder. He/she got into his/her vehicle and drove away. CI#3 
was in Investigator WALLACE'S field of view all the way to the 
intersection of Charles and Mountain Lakes, which is where agent HALE 
and I were waiting to follow him/her to a predetermined meeting point.

Agent HALE and I followed CI#3 to a predetermined meeting point. Once 
at the point,m CI#3 gave me a green folder containing a 
recoimmendation for the use of marijuana signed by Dr. DENNEY. Also 
contained in the green pholder was a photocopy of the official, 
embossed certificate, and a receipt for $200.00.

I asked CI#3 what occurred during his/her visit. He/she told me that 
upon entering the doctor's office, he/she met with the receptionist, 
"Amanda." He/she told Amanda that "Will" from Merchant St. [the 
location of Dixon Herbs] sent him/her and that he/she didn't have an 
appointment. Amanda told CI#3 that was no problem. Amanda asked CI#3 
for his/her medical records and he/she told her that he/she recently 
moved from Mississippi, and their records were unavailable. He/she 
told me that the receptionist got up and went out and looked at CI#3 
vehicle and confirmed there were in fact Mississippi plates on the 
vehicle. Amanda came back inside and told him/her that would be no 
problem. CI#3 said he/she had to fill out a very brief form and then 
saw Dr. DENNEY.

CI#3 tomd me that Dr. DENNEY gave him/her a physical examination. Dr. 
DENNEY asked CI#3 his/her chief complaint and he/she said a pinched 
sciatic nerve. Dr. DENNEY asked if CI#3 had attempted any other 
mainstream prescription medications and CI#3 said they bother his/her stomach.

Dr. DENNEY told CI#3 that he/she was a candidate for the use of 
medical marijuana. Dr. DENNEY explained that the marijuana was to be 
used only as prescribed, and not recreationally.

While waiting for the prescription to be filled out, CI#3 engaged 
Amanda in conversation. CI#3 told me Amanda indicated she was a 
volunteer fire fighter, and that she and some other members of her 
crew were interested in going to the area struck by Hurricane Katrina 
to assist with recovery efforts. She then told him/her she wouldn't 
be able to make it, however, due to this being harvest time, and her 
not being able to abandon her crop.

On Sunday (2/25) the Redding Record Searchlight ran a piece by 
Christina Lucarotti-Stubler quoting Denney protesting the 
infiltration of his office and law enforcement's Alice-in-Wonderland 
response. Because the doctor wasn't the primary subject of the 
investigation, said the police chief and the D.A., he wasn't 
investigated! "Redding police said they were not investigating Denney 
but Dixon Herbs, a small medicinal marijuana dispensary," wrote 
Lucarotti-Stubler. "The investigation took several months and 
involved the Shasta County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Treasury 
Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration...

"The purpose of visiting Denney's office, Redding police Chief 
Leonard Moty said, was to obtain signed statements from a physician 
that could then be used to purchase pot at Dixon Herbs. 'Many people 
use (the medicinal marijuana law) as a means to get around illegal 
use of marijuana,' Moty said. The investigation into Dixon Herbs 
'demonstrates how easy it is (to get a recommendation). It speaks a 
little bit to the credibility of the examination.'

"Both Moty and District Attorney Jerry Benito said Denney was never 
the focus of the investigation. 'Under the medicinal marijuana laws, 
we cannot touch the doctors in any way,' Benito said... The aim of 
the investigation was to build a case against Dixon Herbs, Benito 
said. 'If he feels like somehow he was used or exploited to get a 
recommendation, perhaps he should review his procedures.'"

Denney feels the comments of Chief Moty and DA Benito add insult to 
injury. "The visits to my office are written up in detailed reports 
headed 'Investigative Narrative.' If my practice wasn't investigated, 
what's the right word for it? 'Infiltrated?' 'Penetrated?' 'Spied 
on?' Then they make disparaging remarks about my procedures -it's 
outrageous. And the fact that I feel violated and threatened, 
personally, isn't what's most objectionable. The effect of Moty's 
move against Dixon Herbs is that a thousand or so patients in the 
Redding area are forced onto the black market to buy their medicine. 
Is that really what the chief of police wants? Even if Dixon Herbs 
was not 100 percent up to snuff, it was far better than the 
alternative and deserved to be worked with. That's what the law 
requires -safe and affordable access. The collusion between the state 
agencies and the feds is for no other purpose than to overturn the 
will of the voters. What does that say about the state of our democracy?"

Denney has asked his attorney to evaluate the prospects of a suit 
against Chief Moty for slander. He is also seeking to determine 
whether the federal agencies involved violated the injunction issued 
in Conant v. McCaffrey protecting doctors who perform cannabis 
consultations, and whether the state agents violated the California 
Constitution. On the latter point, see the excellent letter by David 
Bishop, elsewhere in this issue.

Rimonabant Comes Closer

The CEO of Sanofi-Afentis said on French television Feb. 22 that the 
FDA's questions can be answered in a matter of months and that he 
still expects Rimonabant -Sanofi's drug that blocks cannabinoid 
receptors in the brain and elsewhere in the body-to be on U.S. 
pharmacy shelves by the end of the year. The Journal of the American 
Medical Association published results Feb. 15 of a major clinical 
trial of rimonabant (also known as Acomplia) in which a year of 
treatment with a 20mg daily dose resulted in weight loss of 14 pounds 
and waist reduction of 2.4 inches (versus 4 pounds and less than an 
inch for placebo takers). But 51% of the patients dropped out after a 
year (and all promptly regained weight), as did 76 of 333 patients 
who quit during the second year. Depression and other mood disorders 
were almost three times as prevalent among those taking Rimonabant. 
Gee, I wonder why!
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom