Medical marijuana patient-tracking database was never publicly discussed?

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Update by William Breathes: It is starting to look like there never was an opportunity for public comment on the proposed digital connection between law enforcement and the Colorado medical marijuana patient registry.

State officials are only able to point to vague language in state statute for authorizing this program.

The topic was never discussed in any of the Board of Health meetings from July 2010 to March 2011 that were specifically called to outline rules for HB-1284, the legislation that set regulations for Colorado's medical marijuana industry. The board went over a number of patient related issues that needed clarification at the time, including caregiver patient counts, which doctors would be allowed to write recommendations and additional registry-related matters.

But apparently the database didn't need any clarification -- not even in the final published rules. Nowhere in them is the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation or any other entity explicitly charged with creating a computer system.

Repeated requests to multiple state agencies still haven't produce a clear answer about when the Medical Marijuana Information Technology Program was ordered into existence by any rule-making group, legislative body, commission or person.

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Ron Sloan of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
However, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley believes the program was made explicit by language in HB-1284. He points to the phrase: "The state agency shall maintain a registry of this information and make it available twenty-four hours per day and seven days a week to law enforcement for verification purposes."

Which is confusing, because I don't see anywhere in that sentence or any of the language in HB-1284, Amendment 20 or the promulgated rules that call for direct police access to the patient database. And as activist Kathleen Chippi has pointed out, that language could easily mean staffing someone at the CDPHE 24/7 to answer the occasional call from a police officer trying to figure out if someone he pulled over can legally possess their meds.

"The medical marijuana registry is imbedded in the Colorado constitution and state statute," Salley wrote in an e-mail. "It's the department's priority to accomplish the required information exchange in the most effective, efficient way possible -- and that is connecting existing data systems for the limited purpose of confirming or denying registry status. We spoke with law enforcement, including CBI, after passage of HB 10-1284 to try to figure out how to make the information they are authorized to have available electronically to meet the 24/7 requirement, and ultimately the department agreed with CBI to create a link through CBI to provide the information to law enforcement."

Salley went on to assure that the information would only be used when appropriate and that a computer database allows the CDPHE to audit patient queries. "This link will not allow law enforcement to go fishing through the database for information they are not authorized to have, it simply allows them to confirm or deny registry status," he maintained. "No access to protected health information is provided."

Read that one over again carefully. Apparently, your status as a medical marijuana patient is not considered protected health information to the CDPHE, even though you need a qualifying medical condition to register as a medical marijuana patient in this state.

No word yet on if patients will be flagged automatically, as CBI director Ron Sloan suggested. But if the CDPHE doesn't feel that your status as a medical patient is protected information, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see the department including it in any standard background check.

As we mentioned below, future meetings about the marijuana technology project will not be open to the public. CBI officials have directed all questions to the CDPHE; spokesman Salley says the department cannot provide Westword with any documentation about where the program currently stands, because such information doesn't exist.

Page down to read our previous coverage.


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Monkey
Monkey

If "they" just break the rules anyway, why do you care what rules they make? Obviously there is a list of carry permit holders, that's the point, just like the MMJ registry. Why will my attorney be disbarred again? That would be funny if they ever tried to screw with an attorney for being on a confidential registry. If you think this whole thing is about harming patients and not collecting money and appearing important, "they" have led you astray. "They" don't have the money or competence to handle MMCs, but "they" will be able to successfully index, cross check, locate and investigate all patients and caregivers? The evil you're scared of is not as capable as you think. We can't do anything except defend ourselves if we are violated, be prepared for the worst but don't spend to much time pretending the worst will happen. Cops love seeing a carry permit, they almost instantly treat you with respect for following the law. I hope one day cops will feel the same way about a red card, but that's more of a dream than a prediction. Stay strong Donkey, you might be pompous, arrogant and opinionated but you make people question why they believe something, and everyone should do that more often, including you. I don't even think you like weed, but I wish people who do would inform themselves as much as you do.  ps: If you have evidence of anyone other than an FFL with a list of gun owners, they are violating the law and should be arrested. Dealer sale receipts are kept privately by each dealer and cannot be linked to a database. I guess they think weed is more dangerous than guns.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"it's illegal to keep a list of gun owners" LOL!    ... that what they said about MMJ patients ! ps: there is a list of CCW permits and applicants pps: your attorney won't be licensed long once they get disbarred for being on the CDPHE registry.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

How's "the largest Regulatory System" in the U$A working out for you now ? Go ahead, give them MORE POWER and CONTROL via Amendment 64! Colorado deserves it!

Monkey
Monkey

"ahh, how times have changed, Monkey.  Unfortunately, once the interface is connected, you too should expect a letter about your now 'illegal' firearm."I'm to tired to teach gun laws but it's illegal to keep a list of gun owners, even for cops. As we all know it's also illegal to transfer any information contained in the registry without being presented a card, so on and so on. If they actually try to disarm Colorado citizens, you will have more supporters than you can handle. From the video you posted, thank you for that, it sounded like someone lost their carry permit, issued by a county sheriff and revoked by the same county. No one is taking his guns and the feds didn't do anything. What county was that person in? That is a serious local problem, obviously confidential information was obtained illegally. The end of the world might be around the corner but all I can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst, either way my attorney will keep making money.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 "I remember cops returning large amounts of cannabis and a gun to me because I was registered, without it I would have no drivers license, no gun, no weed and a criminal record."  ahh, how times have changed, Monkey.  Unfortunately, once the interface is connected, you too should expect a letter about your now 'illegal' firearm.  And we have the ITO guy working with the DoR, talking to Bob from the CDPHE, saying the DoR is 95% done and they have a few vendor issues to work out on audio before the meeting.  If you look back to the DoR meetings about it's part in this exact computer system--'their' charts linked 'their' patient database to the CBI, the Dept of Labor and Employment, the Dept. of Motor Vehicles and the ATF.....and my memory is a little fuzzy--was the HHS included?  There were 5 when they presented the model.  I'll have to look at the video to recall accurately... it might have said the CDPHE.  So this is where the Beinor ruling comes in in a bad way---if you have an occupational license--if the state choose to revoke your license because you are using (what the Beinor ruling says is) ILLEGAL drugs--they can.  They can do it today.......IF they knew who had a mmj card.....connect the dots is really connect the computers.  And I'm sure there will be a document explaining why you had your license revoked or denied and that would say "use of illegal drugs".  Good luck moving out of state and trying to get an occupational license in any state with illegal drug use on in your background check.  Just one "little" (cough) example of the magnitude this breach will have from the long list of bad things the Beinor ruling brought us.  Quoting myself "More importantly, patients now have no protections from losing their jobs, unemployment benefits, occupational licenses, fire arms, school grants, government aid, housing, insurance and/or child custody over their use of medical marijuana."  The courts refused to hear our appeal.  Everything above is up for grabs if the registry is breached including your freedom from prison cells.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Sure, and the Fascists at CU claimed it wasn't Ward Churchill's essay on 9.11 that got him fired.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

There is also no punishment absent conviction -- Laura's conviction for contempt of court was overturned on appeal.  The judge in the case claimed that it was her conduct during jury selection as opposed to jury deliberations which occasioned the charge anyway.

SansSerpens
SansSerpens

I concede my ignorance of the existence of CRS 18-11-101, and apologize to Kathleen for calling her a fool.  When I am wrong, I'm man enough to admit it.   That said, if there is a contention that the CDPHE collaboration with CBI is treasonous, what next?  Is someone (Rob Corry or the like) going to file charges, or what?  I agree we can’t tolerate a witch hunt by law enforcement targeting legitimate MMJ users.  If CBI and CDPHE were less secretive about their intentions, we might discover for sure whether their intentions are benign (we leave it alone), or malignant (we operate).   Hey!  Mark Salley!  Details please!  You owe us that much as a public servant!

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