You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Former Ann Arbor medical marijuana doctor faces complaint from Michigan Attorney General's Office

By Sven Gustafson

A doctor who had ties to a now-closed medical marijuana clinic in Ann Arbor that was the scene of a 2010 armed robbery is accused of failing to follow protocol prior to certifying patients for Michigan's medical marijuana program.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Michigan Attorney General's Office filed the complaint Aug. 30 against Edward L. Harwell, who owns and operates the Triple M Clinics in Cadillac and was affiliated with the Liberty Clinic in Ann Arbor.

The complaint from John Wright, an assistant counsel with the Licensing and Regulation Division of the Attorney General's Office, alleges that Harwell no longer requires patients to submit medical records and failed to maintain patient records. It accuses Harwell of negligence, incompetence, a lack of good moral character, failure to respond to a subpoena and "promotion for personal gain of an unnecessary drug," the Record-Eagle reported.

Harwell is certified by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and the American Board of Radiology. He has 30 days to respond and demonstrate that he's in compliance with state licensing rules for doctors.

Harwell decline to comment when reached by

Liberty Clinic, a dispensary, was the scene of a dramatic armed robbery in September 2010. The clinic went out of business soon after.

Harwell, of Reed City, told in June 2010 that he was anti-drug until attending a medical marijuana conference and studying the benefits of cannabis on his own. At the time he was traveling weekly to the nonprofit Liberty Clinic to certify patients.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, an outspoken opponent of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act that voters approved in 2008, says the law never authorized dispensaries and can be shut down under the state's public nuisance law.

For more, read the Record-Eagle's story.



Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Funny thing about the internet....anyone can say or write anything whether or not it's true. What does Schuette (and his anti-marijuana) supporters have to say about the addiction rate of alcohol (LEGAL AND WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION), and prescription drugs dispensed with reckless abandon by many doctors who don't even bother to look at the records of their patients if they do have them and the rate of auto deaths and homicides. When is the last time you brought your records to the emergency room or a new doctor? If you didn't bring your medical records with you, did they refuse to treat you? "ALLEGED" means alleged for a reason. Little known and very interesting fact: the allegations were made by the same person who called the news station and is suing the doctor for money claiming entitlement to the profits from the business.

Malcolm Kyle

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

An appeal to all Prohibitionists: Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high—no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists, and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future. Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our once so "proud & free" nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies? Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard, or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime pay, the many kickbacks, and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid, and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem. Prohibition prevents regulation: legalize, regulate, and tax!


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

7-0 Michigan Supreme court....hmmm


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

What a joke, can we seriously just legalize it already. Let the pill companies make it and sell it as well if they are so worried about losing profits. Christ this is such an incredible waste of time and money.

Atticus F.

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Maybe Schuette should investigate himself... For illegally accessing medical documents that are supposed the be private under Michigan law, as well as under Federal HIPPA laws.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

The people have voted.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Bad joke, we have spent hundreds of billions of taxpayers dollard on the "was on drugs". Result, not even a major dent in the problem. When are we going to wake up and stop throwing money down the toilet? Think what that money could have been used for. IE: drug counseling, highways, parks, etc...

Steven Sharpe

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 11:42 a.m.

I seems not to many know that since this law, the people's law by 63%, NOT ONE PERSON OR ANIMAL has died from cannabis to date. Not even since California did in 1995 with the compassionate care act. Mr Schuette needs to do his job and go after things that are killing people like drugs, alcohol and police corruption where they shot first and investigate later.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 10:37 a.m.

And mean while my prescription for MARINOL cost my insurance company $ 900.00. The drug companies have it their way and to heck with people who need this medicine.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Dr. Harwell is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. At last count there are over 130,000 medical marijuana cardholders (based on prior news stories). Obviously cardholder issuance is simply out of control. A large number of the cardholders have got to be recreational users. This is a well-intentioned law that was poorly designed by its advocates ... and not well thought out by those who voted for it. MI voters have been bamboozled ... once again. To those commenters who keep touting the benefits of Marijuana -- and there are a few -- the downside to habitual use is greater. From a lung function perspective, smoking anything is a really, really bad idea. Habitual use can also trigger psychosis. You can find out more from the UM Depression Center -- that is, if you are interested in knowing more.

Paul Epstein

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Whatever the reasons to be apprehensive, or at least cautious, about marijuana--and there are some--the approach of fixing it with legislation, arrests and jail sentences is akin to driving in a screw with a hammer. Schuette is more of a problem all by himself than are twelve thousand pot users all combined.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

Vape it, baby.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

You don't have to smoke it. There are plenty of option for ingesting marijuana. And second, what about aspirin? Think of the number of people on aspirin. According to your logic you'd have to conclude that because there are so many people taking that drug, its use is 'out of control.' And of the two, aspirin is more dangerous and kills more people every year than marijuana. This would only lead me to conclude that you believe aspirin should be regulated back to prescription only.

Blue Marker

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

On the Pfizer board, obviously.

Kitty O'Brien

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

Legalize it, already.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Marijuana causes users to ramble on while speaking. Or typing.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

now that's funny , I don't care who you are

Hesh Breakstone

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Schuette and the rest of the republicans are once again on yet another witch hunt.... Here's the catch 22. Many docs don't want to have anything to do with medical marijuana at least at this time because of witch hunts such as this one. As such patients who qualify for AND benefit from medical marijuana often if not usually cannot obtain the signatures required under the Michigan medical marijuana law from one's primary care Doc. This leaves one alternative, clinics where the doc and patient are strangers until an appointment at the clinic. It's likely that the majority of medical marijuana patients in Michigan were certified by clinic Docs and not primary care Docs. Kill the head, the clinic docs and the the body (the clinics) die shortly thereafter..... Respecting the vote of the people is not the strong suit of the republicans and their cousins from another mother, or planet... the tea party. They are all for attempting to interpret the wishes of the founding fathers or specifically the US constitution. But hey when you lose an election out with the constitution seems to be how they roll. Nearly 4 years of obstructing Obama, voters who may vote for Obama, and legislation that they hate such as the health care bill and medical marijuana laws. Jeff Daniels on HBO's new and wonderful show, The Newsroom has now called the Tea party exactly what they are - The American Taliban... Strange bedfellows indeed these tea partiers and the traditional republicans. Can't wait for either of them to wake up and recognize that the greatest threat to either is the other....


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

@Icansee... You will never be able to see clearly with your head in the sand.

Angry Moderate

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

Richard: The required level is the one that is mandated BY THE LAW that the voters overwhelmingly approved. If the allegations are true, it is the doctor who is not respecting the people's vote, not the AG.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

The reason doctors don't prescribe pot is because it has no verifiable medical value. Your dreamed up witch hunt is just that.

Richard P Steeb

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Cannabis is safer than aspirin. What level of examination and record-keeping is required for a physician to recommend ASPIRIN? You can hardly define a witch hunt better than this. Schuette is a neo-Inquisitor on this subject. Period.

Angry Moderate

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

Could you explain how prosecuting a single doctor who allegedly doesn't collect the required medical records and doesn't maintain the required patient records is a "witch hunt"?


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

A drug dealer breaking the law? Imagine that.

Michigan Man

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Good solid, thoughtful and correct thinking! Congrats on the quality of your mind!


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Let's face it, there are some doctors who are not maintaining an appropriate physician-patient relationship when it comes to medical marijuana. Those doctors will be targeted and will likely lose their license if they do not maintain proper records. Let's also face it that this is a farce. If people want marijuana to be legal then they should just legalize it rather than creating an unnecessary barrier to people and unnecessary burden for doctors.

John Seychel

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Robert, and Bob are correct, and it was the big pharmacy businesses that pushed the prohibition of Cannabis in the first place. The alcohol, textile, and other businesses came along for the ride to help make it illegal. The laws had nothing to do with who it effected the public, but it was widely used in the war of independence and the civil war, for rope, clothes, and medical purposes, but clothe will last way too long for the clothing market, and people would drink alcohol more if they didn't have the Cannabis to relieve them each day when they get off of work. If Cannabis was never illegal, then there would have been lots of commercials showing real buds, and the like. LOL.. We need a revaluation of reality, and stop trying to blow hot air into people, and we need it very soon.

Robert Granville

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

This post reveals that you are ignorant of the barriers to legalization of marijuana at the federal level. This "they" you speak of is up against the DEA and they will not simply go quietly into the night and give up the very illicit drug that's sustaining them through civil seizures.

Basic Bob

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

But a "pain clinic" that ruins lives and kills people is perfectly legal and ethical. Not in my book.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Its about time the government went after these frauds.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

The fraud is the War on Drugs.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

let me edit this for you... Its about time the government stopped intruding into our personal life

Richard P Steeb

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Frauds like Schuette? Right ON!

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

"promotion for personal gain of an unnecessary drug," you mean like Viagra or is it OK for a corporation to do it....after all corporation are people too.

John Seychel

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

Agreed, and the state republicans has been trying to manipulate the laws for the Cannabis laws will became commercialized, because if folks can just grow their own it takes a lot of money away from big Pharm's. They r the folks who supported getting republicans into office. Big Pharmacy hate Cannabis because it has so many different applications, and they can't patent plants, or nature. That's why they are so against it.

Richard P Steeb

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

How would the good AG describe the proprietors of LIQUOR STORES?

Michigan Man

Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

How can you be a "former Radiologist"? One may not be in the active practice of Radiology but even then they are not a "former Radiologist"? Another weak article in the litany of soft articles by


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Medical specialties have requirements for continuing education in order to remain certified. So yes, you can be a former radiologist if you're no longer allowed to practice as a radiologist.


Sun, Sep 16, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

"......and was affiliated with the Liberty Clinic in Ann Arbor." Yeah.....that kinda says it all right there.....

Robert Granville

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

Not sure why all the downvotes... he's right. Apparently those folks don't know who ran that place...