The Department of Justice forces Oregon's hand to release medical marijuana patient records. It's stirring up a frenzy of concern by patients and care providers...
The Oregon Public Health Division, which keeps tabs on medical marijuana card holders, has handed over an undisclosed number of patient records, this as the result of a federal search warrant.
Medical marijuana card holder Cynthia Willis is shocked that the state allowed Oregon medical marijuana patient records to be released to the federal government "Those are like our medical records," says Willis, "...it's like they've gone into our doctor's offices and violated our privacy."
Each year she signs HIPAA forms at her doctor's office.
"We're very outraged that this has happened," comments So Norml executive director Lori Duckworth, who says card holders also pay over 200 dollars to be licensed with the state."In that we expect and demand that our records be kept confidential."
According to court records recently uncovered by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration executed a warrant and seized OMMP patient records for aninvestigation into illegal drug activities.
"This is the first time I've heard, and that the cannabis community has heard, the feds have actually accessed records from the OMMP." says Duckworth.
However, a statement issued by the OMMP says-- The state "routinely releases records pursuant to a court order..."
"On one sheet of paper there's three different individuals that the feds could be led to," comments Duckworth.
The name and number of patients information pulled is still unknown, ...because the investigation is ongoing officials allude to the fact there's a possibility more records could be subpoenaed.
"The federal government is not my doctor," says Willis.
The legal grey area between a state law and federal law raising concerns again for more than 57 thousand Oregon medical marijuana patients.
On Wednesday, another federal effort was made to seize records in Mendocino, California. The county hampered it by keeping those identities private.