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'America’s Medical Marijuana Doctor’ suspended for ‘problematic pattern of cannabis use’

Matthew Roman practices in Old City. He has an active presence on YouTube and recently filed suit against the federal government.

Matthew Roman, an Old City physician, smokes a joint during a live stream he posted to YouTube. The doctor's license to practice medicine was revoked by the state on Apr. 17, 2019.
Matthew Roman, an Old City physician, smokes a joint during a live stream he posted to YouTube. The doctor's license to practice medicine was revoked by the state on Apr. 17, 2019.Read moreYOUTUBE

Pennsylvania has revoked the license of a Philadelphia doctor known for easily issuing physician’s certificates required to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program.

The physician, Matthew Roman, was “unable to practice the profession with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or addiction to drugs,” according to state documents.

Roman, who runs Nature’s Way Medicine in Old City, was one of the first doctors to issue recommendations, similar to a prescription, for medical cannabis in the Keystone State. Since the launch of the medical marijuana program, Roman’s practice primarily has been limited to accepting $200 payments from a stream of patients seeking to access legal weed.

The website for Nature’s Way describes Roman as “America’s Medical Marijuana Doctor.” Roman has an active presence on YouTube, where he has often live-streamed long agitated rants about his relationships with women, his thoughts about the medical profession, and his love of marijuana while smoking a joint.

Somebody must have been watching. According to state documents, a state-appointed psychiatrist found Roman has “displayed a problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment.”

Roman, 34, is a registered medical marijuana patient himself. He qualified for the program after receiving a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Roman did not reply to requests for comment, other than to email an Inquirer reporter that he would live-stream a statement at 8 p.m. Wednesday on his YouTube channel. His lawyer, Michael J. McCarrie of Media, could not be reached.

In November, Roman filed a lawsuit alleging that the federal government was preventing him from exercising his Second Amendment right to own a handgun. In his complaint, Roman said the law prevented him from buying a Smith & Wesson 638 revolver from a federally licensed dealer for self-defense. The gun dealer, Firing Line of South Philadelphia, refused to sell him a weapon because a 1968 law forbids anyone who uses marijuana from owning or using a firearm.

His attempt to buy the snub-nosed revolver came months before the state’s psychiatric evaluation.

Under the consent decree filed Tuesday with the Department of State, Roman will remain on probation. The terms of his suspension place him under three years of probation. The order also forbids him from using any controlled substances, mood altering drugs, and alcohol in any form.

It’s unclear, however, whether he’ll be able to continue to use medical marijuana to treat his PTSD.

If he violates the terms of his probation, Roman could be subject to criminal charges.

The Department of Health emailed Roman’s patients early Wednesday morning, notifying them that though Roman had been removed from the program, they would still be allowed to purchase product from state-permitted dispensaries.

The missive advised patients to find another practitioner to issue their next certification before their current medical marijuana card expires.

This story has been changed to correct a reference to when Matthew Roman bought a handgun.

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