|Graphic: Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project|
New statutes and rules governing medical marijuana go into effect in Colorado on July 1. But the Cannabis Therapy Institute is calling the HB 1284, passed in 2010 by the Legislature, “expensive and unnecessary government over-regulation,” and CTI is calling on patients to join “the legal fight to defeat these laws.”
When HB 1284 was passed, it was with the stated intent of putting 80 percent of Colorado’s dispensaries out of business, according to CTI. Prior to 1284, patients had been able to purchase medicine from caregivers and caregiving businesses, i.e., dispensaries. However, according to CTI, “HB 1284 forced caregivers to give up their guaranteed Constitutional protection to operate dispensaries in exchange for the uncertain statutory privilege of applying to operate a medical marijuana center.
The Colorado Department of Revenue collected more than $10 million in application fees from medical marijuana center applicants, and formed the the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED), which CTI calls “the first law enforcement branch in U.S. history dedicated strictly to policing patients with debilitating medical conditions.”
|Photo: Cannabis Therapy Institute|
|The MMED’s new logo. Whoever thought they’d see a law enforcement badge with the words “medical marijuana” on it? Just in case we forget how they look at medical marijuana patients and providers, it has ‘CRIMINAL’ right up at the top and center.|
”The new badge with the words ‘criminal’ and ‘medical marijuana’ on it does not make patients feel safe,” CTI said in a statement. “This law enforcement model to medicine treats patients like criminals. Remember, the point of Colorado’s Constitutional amendment is that patients should be treated with compassion, not as criminals, and dal with caregivers, not police.”
According to CTI, under HB 1284, patients must surrender the following rights to shop at a medical marijuana center (MMC):
• The right to privacy and confidentiality: MMCs are required to videotape and track patient purchases and make the information available to law enforcement on demand.
• The right against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution): Possession of cannabis is still a crime under U.S. federal law. MMCs will be collecting video evidence of federal crimes that law enforcement can access without a warrant. Shopping at an MMC requires patients to incriminate themselves.
|Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project|
• Right to searches only by warrant and with probable cause (Fourth Amendment to U.S. Constitution): Law enforcement officers are allowed to enter MMCs without warrant or probable cause at any time to search the premises and any patients in it.
• Caregiver registry: According to CTI, patients will soon be required to register with the Department of Revenue as well, including giving fingerprints to the FBI and submitting to a background and financial check.
According to CTI, the lawsuit that the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project is ready to file will challenge the following issues on the grounds that they violate the Colorado Constitution:
• Caregiver limits (five patients, ability to make a profit) are unconstitutional.
• Local bans on medical marijuana are unconstitutional.
• The Department of Revenue does not have the authority to regulate medical marijuana in any way; only the state health agency can regulate it.
• The new laws and rules violate patient privacy protections in the Constitution, including requirements for medicine tracking with RFID tags.
• The new restrictions on physicians who can recommend medical marijuana are unconstitutional.
• The new Caregiver Registry, the new non-confidential Marijuana Employee Registry, and the new non-confidential Registry of Patients who shop at MMCs violate the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Constitutional privacy protections.
“We are working with constitutional attorney Andrew Reid of the Denver law firm Springer and Steinberg,” CTI said in a statement dated June 9. “We need your funding for legal fees today! The first part of this challenge has alredy cost $30,000. We ned to raise more money to continue the case.
CTI requests that Colorado patients ask your MMC if they contribute to CannabisLawsuits.com.