Patients’ Group Opposes Privacy Change to MI Medical Marijuana Law


National Patients Rights Association

The National Patients Rights Association (NPRA), a Michigan-based alliance of leading medical marijuana advocates working to protect patient rights, on Wednesday announced strong opposition to proposed legislative changes to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act it they said would would directly violate patients’ and caregivers’ civil and constitutional rights, privileges and protections.
Specifically, it opposes Michigan House Bill’s 4851, 4853, and 4856. The NPRA also strongly opposes HB 4834, which is sponsored by Gail Haines.
Under the proposed legislation, the most troubling, HB 4834, will allow officers or security personnel to easily gain access to the registry without a warrant, as is currently required. Patient and caregiver information would no longer be strictly confidential, and their private medical treatment choice will be available to a “near endless” list of authorized officials, according to the group, including security personnel or recreation officers hired by the state or local townships.

The NPRA said it strongly believes that every aspect of an individual’s health information should be equally governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which provides nationally recognized regulations for the use/disclosure of an individual’s health information.       
“We are extremely discouraged by the thought process behind this proposed legislation,” said NPRA spokesman, Adam Macdonald. “It becomes very problematic and dangerous when elected representatives begin a process of selecting what portions of an individual’s private health care information should now become readily accessibly.
“As with all health care information, safeguards must exist to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of protected information,” Macdonald said.
The NPRA is backed by patients, caregivers, businesses and a range of other supporters. Collectively, the coalition is working to broaden awareness, reach legislators in a targeted manner, and help mobilize patients and caregivers who are affected by current and proposed medical marijuana laws.
A key objective of the coalition is a push for definitive regulation in terms of standardization ranging from safety and storage needs, document management requirements, privacy, and overall industry standards and procedures.   
HB 4834’s other sponsors, in addition to primary sponsor Haines, are Joe Haveman, Ed McBroom, Ray Franz, Kenneth Horn, Brad Jacobsen, Peter MacGregor, Marty Knollenberg, Jon Bumstead, Wayne A. Schmidt, Ben Glardon, Paul Opsommer, Greg MacMaster, Chuck Moss, Matt Huuki, Hugh D. Crawford, Eileen Kowall, Lesia Liss, Kurt Heise, Kevin Cotter, and Sharon Tyler.
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