|Photo: Grand Rapids Press|
A hearing is set next week in the federal government’s fight to access medical marijuana patient records from the state of Michigan.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents are asking Michigan to turn over the patient records as part of an investigation in the Lansing area. The request is a sign that voter approval won’t stop the DEA from enforcing federal drug laws. Sixty-three percent of Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.
In June, the DEA served a subpoena on the Michigan Department of Community Health, but the state refused to turn over the records, citing confidentiality laws, reports John Agar at The Grand Rapids Press.
The Department of Community Health told federal investigators that they faced potential civil and criminal penalties if they released the information.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh Brenneman will preside at the hearing, set for January 12, according to court records.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruha filed a motion to force Michigan to turn over the records. He said in court filings that state officials were “relucant” to release the records without a court order.
The DEA wants “copies of any and all documents, records, applications, payment method of any application for Medical Marijuana Patient Cards and Medical Marijuana Caregiver cards and copies of front and back of any cards located for the seven named individuals.”
The names of those under investigation are redacted from court records.
Under Michigan’s medical marijuana law, the Department of Community Health keeps a confidential list of patients who have obtained medical marijuana registry identification cards. Disclosure of the information is a misdemeanor.
“Our law is very clear,” retired Dr. Leo Marvin, 80, of Oakland County, Michigan, told Toke of the Town. “A patient’s personal information is not to be distributed — not even to law enforcement.”