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Medical marijuana registry numbers on the rise despite confidentiality breaches

Categories: Marijuana

a 205 Breathes Red Card.jpg
The Colorado medical marijuana patient registry saw the largest increase in active patient numbers in months this summer, growing by 2,475 patients to 109,292 people from June to July.

The Department of Revenue received a total of 3,514 applications during that time period and hasn't reported any denials. That means as many as 1,039 additional new patients were added to the registry, although that number could be offset by people dropping off or not renewing.

The passage of Amendment 64, which legalized the possession, sale and cultivation of cannabis in limited amounts, was predicted to reduce the number of patients on the registry, but the growing figures some nine months after A64's passage seem to tell a different story.

Part of that could be because the next chapter -- recreational marijuana sales -- has yet to begin. But it could also indicate that medical marijuana patients who purchase pot at dispensaries will keep their cards in order to avoid paying a 30-40 percent tax rate (and possibly even more) for recreational cannabis.

Voters are being asked this November to approve a 25 percent tax on cannabis at the state level, with an excise tax applied to wholesale transactions. The handful of municipalities allowing recreational sales also plan to tack on special taxes, with proposals running from 3.5 percent (Denver) up to 15 percent on top of regular city and state sales taxes.

Put another way, a $100 half-ounce could require as much as $21 in sales tax. And that $100 could also be inflated: Some suggest that the additional 15 percent state excise tax will be passed on to consumers through higher retail prices.

But avoiding taxes may not balance other concerns about the registry and privacy. A state auditor's report released in March of this year accused the department of going beyond what was required and giving too much information to police. In August, several groups joined together to protest against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment linking the confidential patient registry with law enforcement computers. And not just those of Colorado cops, either. The Colorado Crime Information Center is accessible by federal law enforcement as well.

Police are allowed access to information in the registry only when presented with medical marijuana patient information that needs verification. Under the old method, police would have to call the CDPHE to do so -- but the new computer system allows police to access it with just a few keystrokes.

As a result, Cannabis Therapy Institute's Laura Kriho says the registry has been compromised, and she's urged the department to destroy existing databases and start over. However, a petition to that effect was shot down by CDPHE and the security of database information with regard to law enforcement access remains questionable at the moment

Other registry stats remained roughly the same. Men still make up about 67 percent of all patients, and the average age still hovers around 42 years old. There are 39 minors under age eighteen on the registry (with parental permission). Severe pain still accounts for most registrations, with more than 100,000 patients in the state using cannabis for that purpose. Muscle spasms account for the second-most-reported condition, with about 15,600 patients. Severe nausea comes in third, at 11,216 patients.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Pot tax critics represent small minority, says Amendment 64 co-author" and "Colorado NORML board opposes recreational pot tax measure."

My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
Foster Wygant
Foster Wygant

PICTURE use extracts, so I can't make my own.

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

Don't need no card my homies is stacked with green! Oh and grow yo own!!

David Spohn
David Spohn

you can't fly with it, unless you have a card in the place you're flying too!

Steve Stalzle
Steve Stalzle

California's MMJ bud is WAYYYY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN HERE IN CO. We are lucky!

Chris Cater
Chris Cater

I like to take it on the airplane so yes, absolutely renew!

Damon Wood
Damon Wood

it's just the right thing to do.

Tyler Kirkpatrick
Tyler Kirkpatrick

To all the people complaining about high prices, maybe you all are shopping at the wrong places i get great deals and never pay more than $150 each.

Nate Bennett
Nate Bennett

GROW YOUR OWN - does anyone walk down to the store for a bottle of water when you could just use the sink in your kitchen?

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

don't sign on with any dispensary and use coupons

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

Interesting that last yrs strains were cheaper.Love that this industry as become capitalistic compassionate. Top shelf ?really hmm. While dispensary owners think its great, not so much for the low income shame shame.

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

How funny; Until Westword's William Breathes mentioned in his column Ask a Stoner, that it is important to keep your red card, many thought about not renewing it.

Mitch Siff
Mitch Siff

Recreational sales will be tourist driven.

Jonnie Ramirez
Jonnie Ramirez

Just renewed mine, will continue to do it, as long as the taxes are being used responsibly

Doug Hubka
Doug Hubka

Funny, No one complains about the high price of MJ, but they complain about the taxes on it. True Americans.

Brad Jones
Brad Jones

Consumers don't react to tax rates...ask the president.

RedCardFading
RedCardFading

I renewed my card so I could purchase at the shops. After 2014, I will not renew my card due to the illegal sharing of my health information with law enforcement officials who have PROVEN time and time again that they will abuse this information.

Maria Nieto
Maria Nieto

Yippers, I sure don't want to pay a ton in taxes.

Nate Bennett
Nate Bennett

no..i think everyone is really into paying a shit load of money for their medicine

graaywolf420
graaywolf420

I will renew.... Elevated plant count & I can carry more than 1 oz if I have to...

Megan Haenny
Megan Haenny

Duh is about right. Just renewed mine and will again next year.

Es Kot
Es Kot

would would the card rate go up when we legalized? Seems stupid to be on a registry.

Lindzi Burke
Lindzi Burke

I know I will be when renewal time comes.

Carol Rushton
Carol Rushton

Whatever... So many threats about a plant that has proven positive for pain (but not a broken heart).

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

I'm gonna bet a huge number of new MMJ applicants are people who have moved here thinking pot was legal and wanted to buy it but couldn't w/o a red card.   They have no idea the CHDPE has breached the registry, but neither does most of the people on the registry as the CDPHE has again FAILED to notify the patients to the breach as they are charged to do so--every patient every breach.


How many people would renew if they had received a letter in the mail from the CDPHE saying they had been breached? 


stuka1
stuka1

@John Foster Wygant Google "Master Wu's Green Dragon" for how to make your own extracts.

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