NJ Medical Marijuana Program Violated Patient Privacy


Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey
Susan Sturner: “As a patient who is still waiting for my appointment to get my medicine, I am outraged”

New Jersey’s struggling medical marijuana program — slow-tracked by Republican Governor Chris Christie after being signed by his predecessor Democratic Governor Jon Corzine on his last day in office in 2010 — may have violated the confidentiality of patients with an email sent on Tuesday.

Patients have to be quite ill to qualify for the New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP); it is one of the strictest in the nation. Many of these patients have been desperately waiting for almost three years to get their legal marijuana, as their conditions deteriorate.

According to Susan Sturner, a registered N.J. MMP patient, “Today the state’s MMP sent out a nasty email to the sickest people in the state, those of us with the most debilitating diseases according to them.
“Not only is the email nasty and inappropriate,” Sturner told Toke of the Town, “it has all the email address of all the people signed up for the NJ MMP in the ‘to’ field, so everyone who received the email can see all of the other patients’ addresses.”

“For those of us with Google accounts, if you roll over the email address it shows our full names and even some people’s pictures,” Sturner said. “I’m not sure if it’s a HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] violation or not, but it is certainly a breach of privacy.
“As a patient who is still waiting for my appointment to get my medicine, I am outraged,” Susan told us. “I have uncontrolled glaucoma and I am losing my sight. I will never get that sight back. Each week that goes by while I wait for my appointment is hell.”

Here is the letter sent to all of New Jersey’s registered Medical Marijuana Program patients on Tuesday:

MMP Patient,

The New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) is diligently
working to ensure all approved patients receive their medicinal marijuana
in a timely matter. However, with the first and only Alternative Treatment
Center (ATC) open for business December 6, 2012; dispensing to each patient
will take time. The MMP and Greenleaf Compassion Center is requesting that
you remain patient with this matter.

   ·    Greenleaf Compassion Center (GCC) is responsible for scheduling
      patient appointments from patients registered first to last.

   ·    Questions regarding appointments and scheduling must be directed to

   ·    Patients who do not have appointments with GCC will be denied entry
      into their dispensary.

   ·    DO NOT contact the MMP concerning appointments and scheduling.  We do
      not have this information.

   ·    The MMP is responsible for processing your application and delivering
      your identification card.

   ·    MMP identification cards are mailed on a daily basis and take 7-10
      business days to reach the designated address.

   ·    The MMP Customer Service Unit is here to assist you with your
      application process and answer your appropriate questions.  The
      Customer Service Unit is not an avenue, nor will it tolerate, abusive

This is an email notification to request you remain patient during this
very busy time. Greenleaf Compassion Center is actively working to dispense
medicinal marijuana to each approved patient in a safe and secure fashion.
Any questions regarding Scheduling appointments can be directed to
Greenleaf Compassion Center at:

   Greenleaf Compassion Center – Phone: (973) 337-5670


Medicinal Marijuana Program
Department of Health and Senior Services
PO Box 360
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0360
Phone: (609) 292-0424