ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque physician who screens patients for the state’s medical marijuana program won’t be allowed to treat patients for the time being.
The New Mexico Medical Board suspended Dr. Nicholas Nardacci’s medical license Thursday after finding he violated the state Medical Practice Act. But the order apparently leaves the door open to Nardacci practicing again in New Mexico under certain conditions. The board ordered him to undergo a professional evaluation and submit a plan for practicing in the future that includes supervision by another physician.
Nardacci, who has been practicing in New Mexico for 32 years, denied any wrongdoing. His attorney Paul Livingston said the board deliberated more than three hours before rendering its decision. “Of course, we’re going to appeal all of this,” Livingston said.
Livingston said he’s not entirely sure where he’ll file the appeal, but that he had “a lot of options.”
The medical board put Nardacci on notice in February that it had sufficient evidence to impose sanctions on him after he was accused of improperly certifying patients for medical marijuana use. The board’s notice of contemplated action also alleged Nardacci failed to disclose to the board he had been investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration back in 2007; fired several shots at a relative of a former girlfriend; saw patients while under the influence of medical marijuana himself; and treated patients in his “family practice” specialty while knowing a registered sex offender lived next door to his office, which wasn’t zoned for business use.
Nardacci is the second medical marijuana provider over the past 18 months to face discipline by the board, which licenses doctors and physician’s assistants in New Mexico. Last year, physician assistant Richard Rubin of Albuquerque entered into a settlement with the board that led to a one-year suspension of his license and a four-year ban on certifying patients for the medical cannabis program.