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Washington became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But there are a lot of challenges ahead: the state must set up a licensing system for marijuana growers and sellers, the federal government may mount a challenge, the need to set a new limit on amount of marijuana in the bloodstream for safe driving. And medical marijuana is still in the picture.Over the next several months we will be exploring the issue and tracking the impact of I-502.

State Yanks License Of Hempfest Pot Doc

Flickr Photo/Neeta Lind

How long does it take to get a prescription for medical marijuana? More than a few minutes, according to the Washington State Department of Health.  State regulators have suspended the license of a Seattle-area naturopath who did a brisk business at Hempfest event 2011.

Donn Moyer, a spokesman with the Department of Health, said they learned about the practice of naturopath Dimitrios Magiasis through a report in The Seattle Times. So the regulators took a closer look.

“The investigation led to the conclusion that substandard exams resulted in people basically coming in and buying a medical marijuana prescription, which is not how the system is supposed to be set up under the law,” Moyer said.

Moyer said the evidence shows Magiasis saw 110 patients during the weekend-long Hempfest event. All but one of those patients walked away with a medical marijuana prescription. On average, the exams took less than 15 minutes.

Moyer said Magiasis’ exams fell short of the mark in various ways. For example, a patient is supposed to have a medical file with past medical records and an established history with the physician.

Magiasis could not be reached for comment. Moyer said Magiasis has agreed to the court order, which imposes a six-month license suspension and a fine of $5,000. Additionally, Magiasis is barred from writing any more prescriptions for medical marijuana for four years if his license is reinstated.

Year started with KUOW: 2006