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Marijuana patients in limbo as doctor’s license is suspended

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Nearly 5,800 Massachusetts patients certified to use medical marijuana are in limbo after state officials suspended the professional license of the doctor who authorized their use of the drug.

Dr. Katherine Downey, a marijuana patient, is asking the state to clarify the status of certifications granted to 5,792 patients by Dr. John Nadolny, the medical director of Canna Care Docs. Downey also issues marijuana certificates for patients in her Norwell office.

The Board of Registration in Medicine suspended Nadolny’s license, alleging he failed to diagnose patients with a debilitating medical condition as required by law and delegated to nurse practitioners the authority to make such diagnoses.


In a request filed with the state attorney general’s office Wednesday, Downey asks regulators to determine the validity of the certifications issued by Nadolny.

If regulators decide to revoke those patient certifications, Downey is asking that patients be given at least a three-month grace period to secure a replacement.

Downey also alleged in her letter that patients notified the health department at least four times since 2013 that Canna Care was illegally issuing certifications, but those warnings were ignored.

State health department spokesman Scott Zoback declined to comment regarding the validity of the patient certifications issued by Canna Care but said in a statement the agency is reviewing Downey’s complaint.

Zoback’s statement did not address Downey’s contention that the agency was notified about problems regarding Canna Care.

Kevin Kafka, managing director of Canna Care, said in a statement the company “stands by all of its current certifications as we believe they are in compliance with state law.

“We invite, however, any clients who are concerned about their certification status to contact us and schedule an appointment for a recertification evaluation at any of our eight Massachusetts centers, free of charge,” the statement said.

Kay Lazar can be reached at