Reading, Writing, Reefer And Surety

The Department of Revenue is looking to make some changes to medical marijuana patient privacy in Colorado which is making both patients and the Cannabis Therapy Institute uneasy.

According to the Cannabis Therapy Institute’s Laura Kriho, “We’re concerned that the Department of Revenue is getting ready to replace the confidential medical marijuana registry with a non-confidential database and surveillance system they’re setting up.”

This non-confidential system allows outside agencies to access the medical marijuana patient database at any time.

CTI’s Laura Kriho suggests that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment staff who have admittance to the information “meet the same requirements that medical marijuana center applicants are required to meet — specifically that they must have a surety bond of $5,000, be a resident of Colorado for the past two years, not convicted of a felony for the past five years and a current set of fingerprints on file with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations. We see the security of the registry as really the only function the CDPHE needs to uphold, and keeping track of who’s accessing it is just as important to us as it is for them to have medical marijuana center applicants comply with their standards.”

This proposal including the surety bond requirement is a step in the right direction for medical marijuana patients, but is it enough to cover any affected by misused or breached personal information?

Should a Department of Public Health employee leak or abuse patient information, the patient is only protected by a $5,000 surety bond in Krilho’s proposal. The patient must prove in court that their information was illegally used which in its self can cost thousands in legal fees; once they are awarded up to $5,000 they still have to deal with the potential of losing their job or health insurance for the simple fact they are medical marijuana users being that medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Even if the Cannabis Therapy Institute’s proposal does pass, it still doesn’t seem the surety requirement is potent enough to protect any patients at risk. Krilho stated, “It’s of the utmost importance to preserve the confidential nature of the registry, in order to preserve the program at all. People have lost their jobs, lost their children, lost their health insurance because it was found out they were medical marijuana users. We just can’t have that.”