WICKER PARK — The city's first legal pot business, which opened in Wicker Park months before the state's medical marijuana law is set to take effect, has received a hit from Illinois financial regulators who filed a complaint against a clinic's doctor.
The state's Department of Financial and Professional Regulation filed a complaint Monday seeking to discipline Brian Murray, a doctor with Good Intentions LLC, including potentially suspending or revoking his medical license.
Murray started collecting fees from potential patients before establishing a "legitimate physician-patient relationship," according to the complaint.
Such a relationship is required under state law in order for a doctor to certify a patient for medical marijuana, the complaint said, and would require the doctor to examine the patient to verify he has a "debilitating medical condition" qualifying him for medical marijuana.
The department inspected the clinic shortly after it opened and found Murray was not conducting any medical examinations, nor was he treating any of his patients for a debilitating condition, the complaint said.
Since Good Intentions opened at 1723 N. Ashland Ave., on Aug. 7, manager Daniel Reid said it has received tens of thousands of requests from people hoping to become patients.
The clinic set up shop to enroll patients and prescribe marijuana when the state law goes into effect in January, Reid said. Potential patients were charged a $99 fee ahead of their evaluation, the clinic said in August.
But the complaint claims that fee was charged before the doctor examined patients or established a legitimate doctor-patient relationship.
According to the department, there was nowhere inside the clinic to "securely store patient records," and while exam rooms had no examination tables or medical equipment, one of them had a mattress on the floor along with a fridge and microwave.
Reid slammed the department for filing the complaint, calling it "utterly false, entirely speculative and anti-patient."
He confirmed the office is "sparsely furnished, yes" and that there was "an inflatable mattress that was in a storage room."
Reid also said that "so far, no one has had a follow-up appointment with [Murray], and no one has had a second visit yet because the law has not taken effect."
Since it opened, the clinic has taken on more than one doctor, Reid said, though he declined to identify any other physicians by name.
Good Intentions states on its website that patients won't receive a recommendation for medical pot on their first visit or before Jan. 1. It claims the idea behind the first visit is to establish a doctor-patient relationship.
Reid said that while he "can't tell" how many patients have been seen, the number of people requesting to be patients has risen to 25,000.
"Yes, we were the first to open and the first to be sued, and what I call that is leadership," Reid said.