Pubdate: Mon, 18 May 2009
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Lee Enterprises
Author: Natalie Hoffman, Register Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


S.F. Doctor Considers Downtown Napa Office

A San Francisco-based physician who recommends medical marijuana use
for a variety of health conditions is looking at opening a practice in
downtown Napa.

Dr. Monte Fisher of San Francisco's Holistic Institute of Greater
Health is eyeing a rental space at 1535 Main St. in Napa, where he is
considering securing a part-time office. Stressing that it would be
just that -- an office and not a dispensary -- Fisher said medical
marijuana is just part of his treatment repertoire for some
chronically ill patients, who also benefit from his guidance about
meditation, diet, vitamins, exercise, medication and yoga. Fisher said
Thursday that he is still considering coming to Napa and has not yet
signed a lease for the Main Street property. If all goes as planned,
however, he will have one or two employees at the downtown Napa
office, he said.

A tentative grand opening for Fisher's office is scheduled for May 21,
said Renee LePage, a local medical marijuana advocate and patient of
Fisher's who is trying to help him set up in Napa. If secured,
Fisher's office would be blocks away from both St. John the Baptist
Catholic School and New Technology High School.

Calls requesting comment at both schools were not returned by press
time Friday. Fisher said parents and teachers have nothing to worry

If they were offended, I would say it's a legitimate medical practice.
.. I don't understand this, why (some) people have a problem with it,"
he said.

He pointed to the medical benefits of marijuana and said that the
public should perhaps be more concerned with prescription drugs such
as Vioxx, which he said "probably caused about 40,000 heart attacks
the one year it was on the market in the U.S. alone."

Fisher said medical cannabis can provide relief for patients with
illnesses ranging from HIV and AIDS to cancer, arthritis, muscle
spasms, seizures, nausea, multiple sclerosis, migraines, glaucoma,
chronic pain and anorexia.

LePage, who said she has been under Fisher's care for about two years,
credits medical marijuana with her ability to walk again after
suffering devastating domestic violence injuries.

I didn't walk for three years because of my injuries. ... I was seeing
a pain management doctor (then) and they were attempting to fill me
with pharmaceuticals," she said.

I have just been able to live a happier, healthier life," said LePage,
who added that she believes critically ill patients should have ready
access to the drug.

LePage said it has taken about a year for her to get the green light
from the Napa Police Department and the city of Napa to invite Fisher
to practice locally.

I believe that this is the most compassionate approach that our city
can take," she said.

According to the Medical Board of California, Fisher's medical license
has been replaced by a temporary one that could expire in October. The
issue is "noncompliance with a judgment or order for (child) support,"
according to the organization.

Russ Heimerich of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the
medical board's parent organization, said medical professionals risk
losing their licenses under California law if they fail to handle
family support matters in accordance with the law and court orders.

Often, Heimerich said, the agency will "replace their current license
with a temporary (one), usually for 90 days. And during that time,
they can resolve that. If they don't, their license is expired."

For his part, Fisher said he is trying to resolve the issue.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake