Has Doc 420 been smoking her own stuff?

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta is just too damn perfect. He is a doctor (including combat neurosurgery), a journalist, a University of Michigan grad, has a perfect smile, and speaks out against drug use. I really believe that the Universe has a way of balancing out the existence of such people with Doppelg√ɬ§ngers, “anti” people, who use their skills to aid the dark side. The story about Sona “Doc 420″ Patel, posted on our News Tab, makes me wonder if we have finally found the anti-Sanjay Gupta of the Indian American community.

Chances are you’ve never met a doctor like Sona Patel. She’s the cover girl for medical marijuana. We first interviewed her at a medical marijuana convention in Los Angeles.

“I’ve always believed in the medicinal effects of marijuana,” says Patel, a medical marijuana doctor.

Six months ago, she started calling herself Doc 420 — 420 is the street slang for smoking marijuana.

“That’s just kind of a bit of a fluke, just kind of happened that that phone number was available and the Web site was available. So, I became Doc 420,” says Patel.

Yes, she has a toll-free number, a Doc 420 Web site and a MySpace page with a picture.

Dan Noyes: “What did you hope to accomplish with this image?”

Sona Patel: “Well, you know what, it was just something that a marketing team had come up with for me…” [Link]

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The article excerpted above is actually the transcript from a television story (including undercover camera work), the video of which is posted on the site.

First, I should say that a part of me admires the hot Doc420. She is using existing loopholes in the California medical marijuana laws to maximize her profit. She definitely is not the only such “rogue” doctor. According to the ad above she already has three clinics in three cities and she is only 31! Her website shows that the clinics are very nice as well. Incidentally, her website has a note saying it is down for construction but will be re-opening today, presumably sans racy “Doc420″ ads. Thank goodness for screen capture. She must be feeling a little bit paranoid because of the undercover story, and probably with good reason. Even though California state laws allow for the distribution of weed for “medicinal reasons,” the feds do not, and will go after people that exploit the laws by freely writing prescriptions without good cause. For those wanting a clearer background on all this, 60 minutes devoted a great story to this problem just a few weeks ago. The problem for Sona is that she is caught on tape implying that just about any reason is good enough to be prescribed some marijuana by her.

The other issue here is her ad which “drips” with sex. In the under cover video when some potential clients approach her she acts very demurely, so I can give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she isn’t using her sexuality on a daily basis. Even if it was a marketing team’s idea to dress her up like that, it was a bad call. No doctor should be that stupid. Citing an ad like this as evidence will undoubtedly bolster a prospective federal lawsuit against her.

I-Team Producer #1: “What if you don’t have a condition?”

Doc 420: “Well, most likely, people are using it for something whether you… really realize it or not, if it’s helping you sleep or calming your stress or there are so many different reasons that still qualify you. You may not even realize it.”

I-Team Producer #2: “It could be something like just I can’t sleep or whatever?”

Doc 420: “Yeah, exactly, and I have a lot of people like that, too.”

Our producers went to the ATM, returned with cash, and after a few minutes emerged with a three-month recommendation for medical marijuana.

Dan Noyes: “Oh, you’ve been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.”

But Dr. Patel didn’t really diagnose our producer. She told him what would qualify him for medical marijuana with a series of leading questions. [Link]

Marijuana might eventually become legalized, even at the federal level. Sona’s problem is that the law just isn’t there yet. The extreme marketing decisions she’s made in order to maximize her profit (i.e., conflating her physical appearance with her competency to prescribe a controlled substance) may come back to haunt her. We’ll keep an eye on her story.

181 thoughts on “Has Doc 420 been smoking her own stuff?

  1. Muralimannered, methinks you need to change your nic- how’s about badlymannered, or perhaps unmannered? At least I’m not saying unmanned(!) ;)

    I’m sure you have extensive experience with this LSD burnout population as well–did you conduct your in-depth research of such burnouts by watching the Woodstock DVD or skipping through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Your credibility here regarding substance use is rapidly decreasing.

    Actually, a lot of anthropologists took LSD, and wrote papers on themselves and later on, the ones that escaped commented on the user population at large. Please don’t tell me that you’re advocating for the usage of this particular drug, too- although I wouldn’t be surprised. Frustrated much?

    In anth, the actual lived qualitative experience of individuals is often as privileged as formal studies. If my common sense is informing me of something, I’m going to offer that observation up. Many anthropologists gather observations by talking to a myriad of people and ferreting out people’s assertions. There’s a famous vignette that was created when Margaret Mead turned to her daughter and told her that she would never be a good anthropologist. Stung, the daughter asked her why. Because, Mead replied, you don’t like to gossip enough.

  2. People use the word mainlining ALL the time for 420 where I live. It started as a joke, but its now common parlance. Control of etymology, doesn’t, apparently, belong to the pompous.

  3. People use the word mainlining ALL the time for 420 where I live. It started as a joke, but its now common parlance. Control of etymology, doesn’t, apparently, belong to the pompous.

    “people ’round where my family came from used swastika symbols everywhere from the temple to the house-warming ceremony. Why y’all not getting it when I draw it in chalk on the pavement in front of my house.” At some point, even anthropologists will have to succumb to the ever-encroaching dominion of empiricism and produce some data to back up their claims of wide-spread trends instead of endless anecdotes about their friends and associates.

    explain much?

    Please don’t tell me that you’re advocating for the usage of this particular drug, too- although I wouldn’t be surprised. Frustrated much?

    Frustrated how? By my inability to pompously expound on the particulars of why I think drugs’r'bad, mmmkay? I don’t advocate for the usage of any sort of drug–just sensible public policy when it comes time to rule on the subject.

  4. Big supporter of medical mj. First hand experience witnessing a loved one slowly dying (painfully) in the arms of cancer. The only thing that made my family member sleep and be able to hold any food down was medical mj and I thank god for it b/c the prescriptions pills didn’t do SHIT. It certainly made his life more bearable until he died.

    Doc 420 rocks.

  5. After reading many of the comments I am at a total loss at how myopic some of you “Doc 420 rocks” types are. Doc 420 is not only selling to dying cancer patients but to neighborhood junkies. Since the legalization of marijuana ultimately lies in the hands of VOTERS and not in the hands of “Doc 420 rocks” types, you all should recognize that for every one Doc 420 (someone who abuses a just law for profit) there will be a 1000 voters who will come to believe that medical marijuana is a scam and vote it down because they will think all doctors will end up like Doc 420. Rooting for her just means that “your side” will keep losing the battle and that medicinal marijuana will be voted down.

  6. At some point, even anthropologists will have to succumb to the ever-encroaching dominion of empiricism and produce some data to back up their claims of wide-spread trends instead of endless anecdotes about their friends and associates.
    1. Ideally, anthropologists incorporate BOTH. You, on the other hand, want to discount one side of the equation out of hand. And even so, loose talk is almost always a prequisite to more formal knowledge gathering.
    2. Where’s YOUR research?
  7. 2. Where’s YOUR research?

    well, I don’t need to supply any research because most of it has already been done and if you had taken the time to read through the comments you would have found the links to these studies as well. What I am not doing is supplying anecdotes and then signing off with a snarky, “girl don’t do that” punch-line. I know someone who was fatally shot by a ricochet from a man innocently doing some target practice in his very rural backyard. Does that mean that “I don’t do target practice because someone I know was killed in a tragic accident”? No. And what bearing does your personal anti-marijuana stance (stated ad nauseam, i might add) have to do with this discussion? You have a serious axe to grind when it comes to weed, and I think we would all best be served if you finished grinding it and then put it away. (or, created your very own drugs are bad mm’kay blog and showed the world the truth!

  8. (stated ad nauseam, i might add) hahahaha you have like fourteen comments to my what? five? look, there are a LOT of reefer memory loss studies out there: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3225/is_n3_v41/ai_8905793 http://www.ndc.hrb.ie/directory/news_detail.php?cat_id=&news_id=2743&pointer=0 http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2005/02/08/1297900.htm

    and this chilling warning: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6745.html

    I’ve worked with a ton of mentally ill people, gone onto the wards, watched them being injected with toxic crap against the will, all because someone had a couple of joints. Being a drunk doesn’t compare to hearing voices and thinking the world has ended in a nuclear holocaust. Whatever, support my view, don’t support it; I’m with Abhi on this one.

  9. Actually, a lot of anthropologists took LSD, and wrote papers on themselves and later on, the ones that escaped commented on the user population at large. Please don’t tell me that you’re advocating for the usage of this particular drug, too- although I wouldn’t be surprised. Frustrated much?

    I never wrote a paper on myself, but I did write a cute anthropologist’s number on my arm one time and now she’s in Syria–making a documentary on Iraqi artists in exile–and her absence has got me really frustrated. I won’t speak for her, and in my frustration I won’t even speak for myself. Instead, I’ll just let Bill Hicks speak for me again and hope that you’re not calling yourself an anthropologist without a PhD, little one.

  10. Instead, I’ll just let Bill Hicks speak for me again

    Hon, I really tried to sit through that.. honest Injun.. but the obvious point is that those who were destroyed on LSD can’t really come out and speak for themselves. Its sort of like the Roma who were fried in the Holocaust. I mean, how often do you hear about them?

    and hope that you’re not calling yourself an anthropologist without a PhD, little one.

    Did I? Call myself an anthropologist? When was that? Seriously, if you can find evidence of such a grievous occurrence on this thread, I’ll mail you homemade cookies. Orange and chocolate shortbread. Because, really, anyone who falls for an anthropologist deserves compensation ;)

    I think I like being called little- what woman doesn’t- so I’ll let your assumptions stand. Anyway, I have no clue how old you are (similar to your data on my age and height), so I’ll make my first assumption of the morning and suppose that you’re entitled.

  11. I have no clue how old you are (similar to your data on my age and height), so I’ll make my first assumption of the morning and suppose that you’re entitled.

    Are you axing for my biodata? Please to look at my profile. I learned on LSD that I am older than dirt. I have no beginning and no end–to paraphrase Dante (and Vedanta), I am that Eternal Goodness which has broken itself into countless mirrors while remaining itself as one. My common sense (which, I might add, is the only thing “common” about me) informs me that you’re prolly a young’un on account of your condescending tone, presentation of vague anecdotal personal experience as scientific truth, and your use of exclamation points! Thanks for playing!!!

  12. Jasmine, Murali, Harb,

    Whoa, chill out with the haterade brahs, you just killed my buzz. I was mad trippin’ cuz I had just discovered, by total accident, that The Dark Side of the moon and the Wizard of OZ TOTALLY sync up! Freakiness, my brahs! I was about to alert the academic world and fans of Primus of my monumental discovery via this thread, but then I read your comments, got major bummed, realized my bowl was cashed, and now I haveta get up ’cause I’m jonesing for Mountain Dew and Funyuns.

    Harsh, dudes.

    When I get back from the john I’m expecting more lovage, less ruffage and I’m going to prove once and for all that The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and Captain and Tenille’s Love Will Keep Us Together line up to reveal some startling truth about the nature of the universe.

    Peace go with you, my brahs!

  13. The Dark Side of the moon

    To the Fabulous Five Rivers Free Spirit, I’m going to take your advice, leave my computer, and head up to the light side of the river crag. Out of the darkness and into the air, and all that… Rainbows and sunshine, Jasmine

  14. My common sense (which, I might add, is the only thing “common” about me) informs me that you’re prolly a young’un on account of your condescending tone, presentation of vague anecdotal personal experience as scientific truth, and your use of exclamation points! Thanks for playing!!!

    Harbeer,

    brace yourself for the forthcoming, “One time…at amateur anthropologist camp…” story. I predict at least one character in the story attempting to tragically insufflate some keef before running off into the nearby suburban dead-end screaming, “Save me, Tom Hanks!!!!”

  15. I was about to alert the academic world and fans of Primus of my monumental discovery via this thread, but then I read your comments, got major bummed, realized my bowl was cashed, and now I haveta get up ’cause I’m jonesing for Mountain Dew and Funyuns.

    Why the Primus dig, brougham? You’re hurting my feelings. And the Funyuns must be paired with the finest of convenience store chocolate milks.

  16. To the Fabulous Five Rivers Free Spirit,

    Lovin’ it! I am so adopting the aforementioned sobriquet to use in third person reference to myself. Rawk!

    I’m going to take your advice, leave my computer, and head up to the light side of the river crag. Out of the darkness and into the air, and all that… Rainbows and sunshine, Jasmine

    So, would now be an appropriate time to ax for your biodata?

  17. Why the Primus dig, brougham? You’re hurting my feelings. And the Funyuns must be paired with the finest of convenience store chocolate milks.

    Oh hell to the naw, naw, naw! Obviously, I loves me my Primus!

    No feelings were meant to be hurt in the making of that comment. Meet me in front of the Haight St. Amoeba and we’ll test out your radical Funyuns/Carton of Chocolate Milk hypothesis.

    But I’m telling you, sometimes you just gotta Do the Dew.

  18. I just think people should face up to that it’s mind-altering to the level that you shouldn’t smoke and drive, and that people can get addicted to it. First, to address the “addictiveness,” look at the first sentence of the second paragraph here.

    I never did say that pot is addictive; I said it can be addictive. There is a difference between physical and psychological addiction, the potheads I know having the latter. In other words, there is a difference between the nature of a drug and how people react to it. And there, pot can slow down your reactions and you might be more paranoid about it than a drunk person, but it still slows down your reactions! It’s not the harmless drug that people would like to make it out to be. That’s all. Yeah it’s good times, but there’s a bad side to it too. That’s really all I ask people to recognize. I don’t pretend that all my extracurricular activities are without danger, and I don’t understand why other people don’t as well.

  19. And the Funyuns must be paired with the finest of convenience store chocolate milks.

    i prefer pot with cream.

  20. I went to medical school with Sona and am appalled at the route she’s chosen in which to practice medicine! That picture of her is well air-brushed and that is NOT HER BODY!!! No matter how hard she worked out after med school!!!! Although she was eccentric in her behavior at school this particular advertising strategy/practice of “medicine” really tops every crazy stunt she’s pulled when I knew her back in school. I was just browsing sepia as I do from time to time and shocked to see this piece on her! Every physician has the right to practice medicine in their own way as it is an art, but the premise is to “do no harm”. Dispensing medical marijuana without a chronic medical diagnosis warranting a prescription may be harmful in the hands of those who don’t really qualify. I am concerned about the message she is putting out there regarding physicians, and selfish motives for profit. It is pretty embarrasing to even admit we did go to school together as I feel she undermines the medical profession. Not to mention, she is also risking losing her medical license which she spent the best years of her life to obtain. I hope she has a damn good lawyer.

  21. to all that might try to brand dr patel with the title of unethical drug dealer, a few questions….

    – does she purchase any drugs (deemed illegal or otherwise)? …….. the answer is NO

    – does she have anything to do with the possession of any drug being bought or sold ? ……… the answer NO

    – does she have any stake in the profits made by government or independent retailers of any drug ? ………. the answer still NO

    – does she sell drugs ? …….. the answer NO

    – does she administer non FDA approved medication to her patients ? ………. the answer NO

    **** then how is she a “drug dealer” ? …….. the answer is simple, she IS NOT ****

    dr. patel is a family practice physician who just happens to specialize in a very new and absolutely law a bidding branch of medicine (medical marijuana)… as a part of her list of services, as a family practitioner, she uses government guide lines to determine who does and does not QUALIFY for relief, medical marijuana…. that individual that qualifies then most go to an independent vendor site (some time referred to as a ‘head shop’) regulated by the government to actually receive the drug…. if ur not happy with this process, voice your thoughts to your local representative and ask for a change and exercise your right to vote…. don’t pass the buck to a doctor working within the system….

    now for the way she markets her practice…

    dr. patel has chosen to:

    A) use the catch title ‘doc420′ …. lets see anyone have a problem with dr 9021, no i didn’t think so… i know, i know, being the smart bunch that u are, ur gonna say ‘yeah but she’s using a reference to illegal marijuana use ?’… yeah ur right, illegal IF ur smoking, eating or however else u use marijuana without a doctor’s consent and do not purchase it through a GOVERNMENT mandated (individually run) ‘head’ shop…. otherwise it is just a reference to marijuana use (like how the term ’420′ is used in Amsterdam, where marijuana use is legal)… let’s be real here, it didn’t matter what catch phrase dr patel used, if it referred to marijuana, u’d have a problem with it…. ** NOW the real story (as if u cared yes you ahbi)— dr patel chose 420 as her catch phrase not because of street lingo, i’m possitive she’s much more insightful than that…. see our law makers decided that the law which was to allow this marijuana reform in the state of california would be named ‘California Senate Bill 420′…. so if numbers are your fixation, then i suggest once again that u consult your local representative and ask him/her why they used a marijuana reference to name a bill legalizing marijuana (but i know, it’s much easier to just chastise the perceptive and singular dr patel) ….

    B) attach a flattering picture of herself…. ok sona’s better looking than average and i’m guessing those pictures do her justice…. i have plenty of doctor, lawyer, dentist, accountant, hair dresser (u get the point) friends that put up advertisements that have pictures…. these pictures almost always show them at their best (they just don’t look like dr patel does, but i bet if they did, they’d put it up)… i know naysayers out there that are saying, ‘but she’s selling her sexuality as a doctor’, ok then i’m gonna go back to our plastic friend, dr. 90210 (that no one has a problem with), he and other ‘eligible’ doctors use ‘sex appeal’ to sell themselves and ultimately there practice…. and i deify you to show me one plastic surgeon or dermatologist that doesn’t use sex as an advertising tool…. oh and i’m guaranteeing you that approximately half her patients are probably female….

    sona does not use cartoon characters to propagate to children and their likes…. dr patel uses, sexy, perhaps un-doctor-like, images of her likeness to market herself to a patient population that is — HOLLYWOOD….

    BOTTOM LINE — dr patel, is a board certified family practice physician, who is specializing in the very new field of medical marijuana…. at best i can see some validity in quarrel over her marketing strategies… but from the point of the voting public which voted for the representatives, who in turn, voted for this marijuana reform, dr. patel is providing a legal medical service as part of her practice …..if u don’t agree with her marketing strategies don’t go to her…. but don’t write her off as a drug dealer, that my friends is the very definition of ignorant…

    note to tough guy blogger, ahbi, please don’t respond…. i get it, u don’t like what dr. patel is about…. u don’t want to see any side but yours, no matter how compelling the argument… so i implore you to keep your uncle tom, hateful, purist, uneducated comments to yourself…..

    ajay shah md

  22. There is absolutely nothing wrong with smoking or eating this miraculous herb.

    It is a staple of Indian culture as well.

    Great for PMS and to ease stress of today’s modern working mother.

    I bet every Desi grandma used it back in her day.

  23. One must remain aware that simple correlation of Schizophrenia with Cannabis does not equal causation. On the same page Nicky noted there is also this particular gem of information of which she notably omits any mention.

    “It is also notable that alcohol abuse is a stronger predictor of psychotic symptoms than regular cannabis use (by a factor of four).” Might individuals experiencing the very early stages of mental problems try to self treat themselves with booze and/or pot?

    I don’t advocate anyone go out and abuse anything, but I do deeply object to propagandistic warnings when they are not based on fact. The strength or high THC percentage arguments are to my mind utterly silly. Had the powerful pot of today been available way back when, I’d bet every now worried former pot smoking parent would have paid extra for it. As in fact they did, every time they bought hashish or “Columbian” over “Mexican”. I suspect the danger to the lungs is significantly reduced by the modern high grade pot because people tend to smoke far less of it.

  24. One thing remains clear, that Dr. Patel’s record is impeccable. Note her credentials in person at her office in Hollywood!

    Who should draw the line to who can possess this natural narcotic? It started only with Aids patients. Then it was cancer patients too. Next narcoleptic patients then anxiety, hunger, migraines, etc. Should there be a line drawn to who can use medicinal marijuana? If so, why? For every one of these ailments there are legal man-made prescription drugs, some made with opiates(another known narcotic) to kill pain. Many of these prescription drugs have plausible side effects to boot and are often extremely addictive. Now addiction to marijuana is possible depending on the person using medical marijuana(study effects of cannibus — http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_effects.shtml), also fortunately, far less threatening to your health than most prescriptions-and legal drugs such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. As far as I am concerned, I have not read, heard or seen any form of evidence denoting a prolonged use of marijuana to cause serious harm other than respiratory symptoms. Smoking of any kind will blacken your lungs surely, like cigarettes, but with the major difference of thousands of poisonous and lethal chemicals in nicotine saturating your bloodstream compared to THC. The DEA’s apprehension on marijuana and shops located throughout California for the sole purpose of protecting the people’s “health from smoking” is not the issue here. Their ultimate goal is to regulate a multi-billion dollar industry covertly. It is a fucking shame, America is at a loss to break out of a comfort zone it has upheld since 1937, a time before many happenings. Countless anti marijuana campaigns throughout the decades, symbolizing it as the epitome of evil, this natural plant to be inhaled or consumed AS IS straightforward and unaltered, are we the people entirely unable to evolve an idea, such as smoking grass and making it socially acceptable?

    “Marijuana grows naturally upon this planet, it’s against the law. Doesn’t making nature against the law seem a bit, I don’t know, unnatural?” ~Bill Hicks, 1994

  25. she follows the law, and u call it loop holes but its legel like any other doctor dose with meds i will stop watching 60 min if this is all they will report dum sh!t.

  26. Honestly.. marijuana legalization has been a back and forth debate, with both sides coming up with an increasing number of statistics to prove their points- which is fine. But it boggles my mind that the matter of her looks have ANYTHING to do with marijuana legalization. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, and her career happens to announce to the world that she is pro-legalization/pro-use of marijuana- just like any activist throughout history. Now, she just happens to be very good looking, but why should that question her ability as a doctor? I have even more respect for her as a person (let alone a doctor) who has been able to attain one of the highest levels of education, while single-handedly creating a booming career, and still managing to find the time to care for her appearance and look sharp. She’s like any other hard working American trying to use their knowledge and education to come ahead, and I’m pretty sure if she had a third-eye or a hairy mole above her lip, nobody would have anything bad to say about her. And just because she’s good looking, she can’t be as dim-minded as people are saying she is.. after all, not everyone is capable of becoming a doctor and be able to start their own business. There must be more to her than the eye can meet..

    so suck it up people! she’s gorgeous, successful, and very intelligent.

  27. She’s smart? Did you see she studied in the Caribbean? She did a residency in one of the easiest residencies to get into? Smart? HARDLY. Unscrupulous? Definitely!!! She’s not a doctor, she paid to go to an island and be awarded an “M.D.” and then went on to freely abuse a policy which was meant to help people. She’s an embarrassment. But in her eyes, why does she care? She’s rich! Everyone knows drug dealing is very profitable. ‘ajay shah md” post is very carefully selected information and I must admit, hard to take seriously with no attention given to proper grammar.

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