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Name: People v. Superior Court (Cardillo)
Case #: B246745
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/31/2013

Nonlicensed owners of medical marijuana clinics may be prosecuted for illegal practice of medicine even though they did not see patients or issue recommendations because they set up a system or mode for treating the sick or afflicted. Defendants were owners of a corporation that operated several medical marijuana clinics. They were charged in part with practicing medicine without a license (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 2052). They moved to dismiss the charge on the ground they did not treat patients, but only provided management services for the clinics. The court granted the motion, agreeing that section 2052 only applies to persons who actively treat patients. The prosecution sought a writ of mandate. Held: Writ granted. “Section 2052 clearly prohibits an unlicensed person from either ‘practicing . . . any system or mode of treating the sick or afflicted’ or diagnosing, treating, or prescribing for any disease or ailment.” The defendants set up the “system or mode” for treating the sick by controlling the operation of the clinics, including employing doctors to prescribe marijuana and selling it to the afflicted. They set the physicians’ hours, solicited and scheduled patients, collected fees from the patients, and paid the physicians a percentage of those fees. The fact that the defendants did not personally examine patients or prescribe medical marijuana does not lessen their culpability.