By Jack Evans
With amendment 64 scheduled to be voted on in Colorado, which would “Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol” (a misnomer) and initiative 70, which would regulate cannabis equally to tobacco; one aspect of the medical marijuana (MMJ) narrative that has been suspiciously absent from the Denver Post, with the exception being Westword, is the illegal breaching of the MMJ confidential patient registry overseen by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
More specifically, on July 1, 2012 the CDPHE will be networking the confidential MMJ patient registry with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC), and the Department of Revenue (DoR) through the Medical Marijuana Information Technology Program in violation of Article 18 Section 14 (3)(a) of the Colorado Constitution, “The Privacy Act” and “HIPPA”.
This information was discovered when deputy director Karl Wilmes of the CBI, the state compact officer of the FBI National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact held a secret meeting with the CDPHE to discuss the illegal breaching of the patients confidential registry on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 in violation of the Colorado Constitution’s Sunshine Laws, specifically, TITLE 24 - ARTICLE 6 - Colorado Sunshine Law 24-6-402. Meetings - open to public. This concerted effort on behalf of the CBI and the CDPHE goes back as far as December 6, 2010.
More disturbing is the fact that in an Westword article dated May 3, 2012, William Breathes reported that according to Ron Sloan director of the CBI, patients might be “…pre-flagged in the CBI system, so that someone undergoing a background check would automatically show as a medical marijuana patient without a direct query -- much the same way the names of sex offenders pop up currently.”Such information according to Kathleen Chippi of CARE, Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education, would put patients at risk in jobs, unemployment benefits, occupational licenses, firearms, government aid, housing, insurance, and/or child custody issues.
Breathes article goes on to state “…the searches were intended not only to verify "ownership and lawfulness" of medical marijuana, but also to "identify individuals to whom transferring a firearm would violate [Federal law]." According to the draft: "This purpose will be used by the CBI Instacheck unit to determine whether an individual may possess a firearm under federal law. It will also be used by law enforcement for similar activities." In essence, any person who utilizes cannabis for medicinal purpose under amendment 20 would be prohibited from purchasing, transferring, or obtaining a concealed carry permit within the state of Colorado.
Furthermore, law enforcement officials would be able to check “…whether or not a patient has state permission for an increased plant count above the standard cap of six...” ibd listed on the physician’s recommendation form, which also lists patient’s physical ailments that qualify him or her for cannabis use.
If patients who utilizes cannabis for medical purposes allow the CDPHE to share very personal medical information with the CBI, and subsequently every other alphabet soup agency of the Federal Government in violation of Colorado Constitution, “The Privacy Act”, and “HIPPA”; then there's no reason to suspect these same agencies will not seek to cull other people's medical information who do not use cannabis. It will set a precedent, a slippery slope that users and nonusers alike should oppose with every fiber of their being if they value their expectation of privacy, especially in matters as personal as their medical records.
Jack Evans was born into a blue collar working family and raised in Southern California. Between the ages of eighteen and thirty six he worked in various blue collar industries such as EMT, Firefighter, Roofing and Commercial Truck Driver; the latter of which he injured himself of the job and became permanently disabled. Thereafter he attended Springfield College where he earned his A.A.S. degree in paralegal science and Kaplan University where he earned his B.S.L.S. (Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies) He presently resides with his wife of twenty six years in Colorado and is an advocate of civil liberties and human rights.