Medical Marijuana Patient-Tracking Program against Colorado Constitution?
Medical marijuana advocates are crying foul over a proposed plan in Colorado to track patients and share the information with law enforcement, and also over the way discussions about the plan have been kept from the public.
The firestorm kicked off when William Breathes from Denver Westword reported on a closed-door meeting on the issue. "The departments are not helping us," said medical marijuana advocate Kathleen Chippi. "We've talked to people at every department that was involved in the meeting," which focused on collaboration between the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, "and we got responses like, 'Well, we can't answer that,' or something to that effect. They're not giving us a clear and concise answer. But the bottom line is, we know the meeting wasn't posted publicly, and we know from William's article that the public was asked not to come."
According to William Breathes, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley confirmed that the meeting was not open to the public, which Chippi says violates Colorado Sunshine laws. Furthermore Chippi says the proposed system itself violates Colorado’s Amendment 20, the state’s medical marijuana law. In particular the passage that states, “Authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to the information contained within the state health agency's confidential registry only for the purpose of verifying that an individual who has presented a registry identification card to a state or local law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card.”
No mention of tracking and sharing info with law enforcement. "For twelve years, our constitutional amendment has said something, and patients thought they were protected," Chippi said. "And for ten years, the health department has said the registry would never be put online at all. It was supposed to be one modem at the department of health. And now they're sharing information with law enforcement."
Chippi is backing a ballot initiative known as Amendment 70, which would make marijuana legalization a constitutional right in the state and would also stop Colorado resources from being used by the feds in medical marijuana crackdowns. Supporters of Amendment 70 are currently gathering signatures.
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