Late last year, the Colorado Department of Revenue released a new set of regulations concerning medical marijuana. (You can read all 99 pages of the document in this PDF file.) Among these regulations are articles establishing a new patient database which will replace the current private list.
Right now, registered patients are listed on a computer in the Department of Public Health and Environment. That computer is not networked or connected to the Internet, meaning the patient registry is only accessible from the office. Under the State Constitution (Article XVIII, Section 14,) law enforcement officials cannot access the list without a phone call or fax to the Department, and only if they have stopped or arrested someone who claims to be a patient.
The new list, however, will be accessible via the Colorado Crime Information Center. Under the proposed regulations, medical marijuana patients’ information will be accessible to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment, and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, among other agencies. This violates the patients’ Constitutional rights to confidentiality. Officials say that the new registry is still confidential. While it’s certainly not public record, the new list is still accessible remotely, making it more vulnerable to unauthorized access.
More and more DEA-sponsored raids leave pro-pot patients victims of a clash of state and federal laws. Patient information must remain confidential so that law-abiding patients are protected.
A hearing on the new regulations will be held in Golden on January 26 and 27. Until that time, you can submit your comments on the issue to the Department of Revenue via e-mail. For more information, including links to the full 99-page document and how to comment, visit the DoR’s website. The Cannabis Therapy Institute also has more information.