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*Get your MITS off our Meds*

CTI/PCRLP File Emergency Rule Petition to Protect Patient Privacy

ACTION ALERT: Email & Attend Board of Health Meeting on Wed.

For immediate release: Dec. 17, 2013

{Denver} -- The Cannabis Therapy Institute and the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project have filed an Emergency Rule Petition to the Board of Health, which oversees the medical marijuana Registry. The Emergency Petition asks the Board to discontinue the practice of sharing confidential patient information such as patient ID numbers, plant counts,
and dosage recommendations with the Department of Revenue for the purposes
of verifying the DOR's Marijuana Inventory Tracking System (MITS) online database, accessible to all law enforcement.

CLICK HERE TO READ EMERGENCY RULE PETITION

MITS AND PATIENT PRIVACY INFO:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/patients/privacy/
http://www.coloradoindependent.com/145244/pot-regulators-tracking-plants-play-down-privacy-concerns

The Colorado Board of Health will hold their monthly public meeting on Wednesday. Two medical marijuana issues were already on the agenda. One agenda item is titled: "Presentation: Update on Department Activities following the State Auditor's Medical Marijuana Regulatory System, Part II". This will be an update by Registry Director Ron Hyman on the Auditor's
report that CDPHE failed back in June.

The other agenda item will be a formal public rulemaking hearing regarding lowering patient fees from $35 to $15. Since the CDPHE has failed to keep the Registry confidential and since the CDPHE has a $13 million surplus in over-collected patient fees, patients believe the Registry should be free.

The Emergency Rules petition may or may not be acted upon by the Board of Health on Wed. Patients and their advocates are encouraged to attend the meeting at 10:00am, to support the Emergency Petition during Open Public Comment.

========================================
ACTION ALERT
SEND EMAILS NOW
Please send an email to the Board of Health supporting the CTI/PCRLP Emergency Rules Petition

SAMPLE EMAIL
Dear Board of Health:
This letter is in support of the CTI/PCRLP Emergency Rules Petition to stop
the practice of sharing confidential patient Registry information with the
Department of Revenue (DOR) for the purpose of regulating Medical Marijuana
Centers (MMCs) through the Marijuana Inventory Tracking System (MITS)
online database. Information from the Registry is only supposed to be
shared with law enforcement when they have "stopped or arrested" a person
who presents them with a Registry ID card. The MITS database has nothing to
do with patients being stopped or arrested. It is used to track sales at
MMCs. Please stop sharing information with the DOR in this manner.
Sincerely,
Your name

EMAIL SUBJECT: Support for CTI/PCRLP Emergency Rule to Protect Patient
Privacy

CUT AND PASTE EMAILS
medical.marijuana@state.co.us, cdphe.bohrequests@state.co.us,
larry.wolk@state.co.us, info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com,
cdphe.information@state.co.us, jamie.thornton@state.co.us

========================================
ATTEND HEARING

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
Board of Health Public Meeting
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Sabin-Cleere Conference Room
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80246

Rulemaking Hearing: Proposed changes to Medical Use of Marijuana
Regulations, 5 CCR 1006-2, Regulation 7 to lower the Medical Marijuana
Registry Patient Fees

Time: 10:00 am (the agenda says the marijuana information will start at
12:20pm, but the Emergency Rule petition will be discussed at 10am during
general public comment. Please sign up when you arrive.)

Click here to view agenda:
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=CDPHE-Main%2FCBONLayout&cid=1251635552089&pagename=CBONWrapper

LISTEN REMOTELY
CDPHE says that citizens can listen live remotely via telephone.
Phone: 1-877-7831
Access code: 647688#
This will only allow people to listen, not participate, so send your
emails!

PATIENT PRIVACY IS PARAMOUNT
If it becomes known that a person uses marijuana because of privacy breaches of the confidential Medical Marijuana Registry, that person faces discrimination and potential harm in employment, housing, child custody, health insurance, veteran's benefits, organ transplants, automobile
insurance, firearm ownership, occupational licensing (including real estate, medical professionals, construction trades, and teachers), student loans, loss of right to due process, interactions with law enforcement (loss of freedom), and incrimination in federal crimes.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/donate.html

HOLIDAY GIFTS
http://www.cafepress.com/firsttolegalize

NOTE ON IMPORTANCE OF PARTICIPATION
It has taken CTI and PCRLP over 200 hours of unpaid research to uncover abuses of patient privacy being undertaken by CDPHE and DOR. Please take 2 minutes to send an email to show the government that the public is aware of and supports our efforts.

---
Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
Phone: 877-420-4205
Web: http://www.CannabisTherapyInstitute.com
Email: info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com


Action Alert:
CDPHE Proposes Lowering Patient MMJ Registry Fees

Patients Say Fees Should Be Even Lower

{Denver} -- The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry wants to lower fees for medical marijuana patients who volunatrily register with the state from $35 to $15, but patients and advocates feel that the fees should be eliminated altogether until the CDPHE can guarantee that the Registry is confidential and until the CDPHE has depleted or refunded $13 million in over-collected patient fees.

The Board of Health (BOH), which oversees the Medical Marijuana Registry, is having a public final rulemaking hearing on the issue Wednesday, December 18. Patients are encourage to attend and send public comments by email in advance.


ACTION ALERT

SEND EMAILS NOW!
Please send an email to the Board of Health asking them to eliminate the Registry fee for patients until they can guarantee the Registry's confidentiality and until their $13 million in over-collected Registry fees are depleted.

SAMPLE EMAIL
Dear Board of Health:
This letter is in regards to proposed changes to the Medical Use of Marijuana Regulations, 5 CCR 1006-2, Regulation 7. I support lowering patient Registry fees, but I think $15 is still too expensive. There should be NO FEE until the Registry can be guaranteed confidential as required by the Constitution and until the CDPHE has depleted or refunded the $13 million surplus budget of over-collected patient fees.
Sincerely, Your name

CUT AND PASTE EMAILS
medical.marijuana@state.co.us, cdphe.bohrequests@state.co.us, larry.wolk@state.co.us, info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com, cdphe.information@state.co.us, jamie.thornton@state.co.us

EMAIL SUBJECT: Public Comment on Proposed MMJ Rule Change Regarding Registry Fee

DEADLINE
Send comments by Dec. 18 at 10am.


ATTEND HEARING
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
Board of Health Public Meeting
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Sabin-Cleere Conference Room
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80246

Rulemaking Hearing: Proposed changes to Medical Use of Marijuana Regulations, 5 CCR 1006-2, Regulation 7 to lower the Medical Marijuana Registry Patient Fees

Time: 12:00 noon (the agenda says 12:20pm now, but please arrive early in case the agenda item is moved up)

Click here to view agenda


SURPLUS BUDGET WAS OVER-COLLECTED FROM PATIENTS
The CDPHE has a $13 million in Registry fees that it over-collected from patients over the past 13 years. The state has been trying to "re-appropriate" this money for years. However, under the Constitution, the Registry can only use the money to pay for administrative costs of maintaining the Registry.

Recently, the state has tried to steal $7 million in Registry money again, under the guise of using the money to promote "legitimate research" into cannabis.

REGISTRY IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL
In addition, patients feel they should no longer have to pay for the Registry, since it can no longer be called a "confidential" Registry. The CDPHE has allowed law enforcement to have direct access to the confidential Registry without any oversight, and many security breaches have been uncovered recently.

Cannabis advocates have uncovered that the information in the "confidential" Registry is being illegally shared with law enforcement. Any local, state, or federal law enforcement official nationwide now has access to the Registry through the CCIC crime computer, run by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), with no supervision by the CDPHE. The Director of the MMJ Registry, Ron Hyman, has said repeatedly that "We don't control what law enforcement does with the Registry information."

Most recently, it has been revealed that law enforcement agents from the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Criminal Enforcement Division (MCED) are somehow confirming patient numbers, plant counts, and dosage recommendations for patients that are provided to them by MMCs for inclusion in their new Marijuana Inventory Tracking System (MITS). The MCED claims they are getting that information from the CDHPE MMJ Registry, but the CDPHE denies it.

MMJ Registry Director Ron Hyman has stated flatly, "Medical Marijuana Registry (MMR) information is not shared for the purpose of maintaining or updating the DOR MITS database."

Julie Postlethwait of the MCED denies this. "We request the info on a specific card number and they (CDPHE) confirm it is current and the recommended plant count," she said.

In June, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor gave the CDPHE an "F" for maintaining a confidential Registry. The Auditor uncovered many privacy breaches.

REGISTRY IS VOLUNTARY
The Registry is and always has been voluntary. However, the state destroyed the caregiver model in 2010 with House Bill 10-1284, so patients have become reliant on Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs) to get their medicine. You don't need a Registry ID card to obtain medicine from a caregiver under the Constitution, but you do need a red card to purchase cannabis at an MMC under statute. If the Registry is not confidential, why pay $15.00 to have your name accessible to law enforcement on demand?

FORMAL OPINION FROM ATTORNEY GENERAL
Attorney General John Suthers has been asked by CDPHE to issue a formal opinion on privacy breach legal issues that were uncovered by the Office of the State Auditor in their report on the CDPHE's performance in maintaining the MMJ Registry. CTI encourages AG Suthers to issue a formal opinion quickly, on the matters in the Auditor's report and on the privacy issues concerning access of law enforcement through the CBI/CCIC direct-access online interface and the DOR/MITS online interface for MMCs. If a patient's privacy is breached only once, it can have catastrophic consequences.

If it becomes known that a person uses marijuana because of privacy breaches of the confidential Medical Marijuana Registry, that person faces discrimination and potential harm in employment, housing, child custody, health insurance, veteran's benefits, organ transplants, automobile insurance, firearm ownership, occupational licensing (including real estate, medical professionals, construction trades, and teachers), student loans, loss of right to due process, interactions with law enforcement (loss of freedom), and incrimination in federal crimes.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/donate.html

HOLIDAY GIFTS:
http://www.cafepress.com/firsttolegalize

Defend the Registry


CCIC/CBI MMJ REGISTRY ONLINE DATABASE

BACKGROUND
A new online police interface gives all law enforcement access to the Registry through the CCIC/NCIC national crime database. An agreement between the CDPHE and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) allows the CBI to have real-time, unmonitored access to the confidential Medical Marijuana Registry.
CLICK HERE TO READ CBI/CDPHE DATABASE AGREEMENT

Colorado patients have been complaining that they are getting pulled over by law enforcement in other states, and that the police know whether they are currently or were previously a medical marijuana patient on the Registry.

On Aug. 21, 2013, the Cannabis Therapy Institute presented an emergency petition to the Board of Health requesting that the CDPHE disable the direct interface of the national CCIC/NCIC crime information computer with the confidential Medical Marijuana Patient Registry. The petition was denied by the Board of Health on the grounds that they deemed it was not an emergency.

However, they confirmed everything we suspected about parallel databases, having multiple copies of the Registry in multiple places, and having no control over outside agencies that accessed the Registry. The Board was unapologetic and refused to do anything to make improvements. They even refused our request to notify patients of the new online police database, the Auditor's report, or the confirmed breaches of confidentiality.

The BOH admitted they could not control what law enforcement does with the Registry. The "Quote of the Day" from the Aug. 21, 2013 BOH meeting came from Ron Hyman, MMJ Registry Director, and he did say it three times:

"We don't control what law enforcement does with the Registry information."
"We don't control what law enforcement does with the Registry information."
"We don't control what law enforcement does with the Registry information."

Click here for CBS 4 coverage of the patient protest at the Aug. 21 meeting:
Colorado Marijuana Patients Protest Privacy Breaches, August 21, 2013, 4:20 pm

The Constitution requires the CDPHE to keep a confidential Registry of medical marijuana patients and states that law enforcement can only receive information from the Registry if they have stopped or arrested someone who presents them a with medical marijuana Registry ID card.

At the Oct. 16 meeting, they will consider whether to accept any of the proposed changes in the CTI/PCRLP petition and whether to begin formal rulemaking procedures. Based on past actions, CTI expects the Board of Health to deny their petition again.

June 2013: CDPHE Fails Auditor's Report for breaches of Regsitry Privacy
Click here to read the Auditor's Report on the Medical Marijuana Registry


*SHARE THES PAGES*
http://www.CannabisTherapyInstitute.com

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/rules/boh/




BACKGROUND

Medical Marijuana Registry Confidentiality Breached by Law Enforcement

CTI and PCRLP File Emergency Rules Petition with Board of Health

[April 15, 2013 - Denver] -- An investigation by the Patient Advocacy Project of the Cannabis Therapy Institute (CTI) and the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project (PCRLP) has uncovered that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been illegally sharing confidential medical marijuana Registry data with law enforcement through the CCIC/NCIC national online criminal database, administered by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). CTI and PCRLP have filed an Emergency Rules Petition with the Colorado Board of Health to stop this practice, which they plan to discuss at the Board of Health's next meeting on Aug. 21, 2013.

AUDITOR'S REPORT: CDPHE PROVIDES TOO MUCH INFORMATION TO POLICE
The CTI/PCRLP investigation was triggered by a report released by the Colorado Office of the State Auditor on July 15, 2013 that first revealed details of a new online database that allows law enforcement direct access to the confidential medical marijuana patient Registry.

Relevant parts of the June 2013 Auditor's Report on the CDPHE start on Page 59:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/colorado/audit/

The Constitution requires the CDPHE to keep a confidential Registry of medical marijuana patients and states that law enforcement can only receive information from the Registry if they have stopped or arrested someone who presents them a with medical marijuana Registry ID card. Since the Registry was created in 2001, law enforcement has never had direct access to the Registry. CDPHE employees always handled all law enforcement inquiries, and the Registry was always on a single computer in a locked room and was not accessible through the Internet.

The Auditor's Report states that the new "CCIC-Registry Online Database" went online in April 2013 and may be giving law enforcement too much information on patients, such as the plant count and quantity of cannabis a patient is allowed to possess. The Auditor writes, "It is not clear that Public Health has constitutional authority to provide information about patient plant and ounce counts through the Registry-CCIC interface."

The Auditor also uncovered 15 reported confidentiality breach incidents, including an incident where 5400 caregiver names were "inappropriately provided to the State Auditor." The caregivers whose confidential information was breached were never notified.

CTI/PCRLP EMERGENCY RULES PETITION
On August 15, CTI and PCRLP filed a 10-page Emergency Rules Petition to the Board of Health seeking to stop law enforcement from gaining direct access to the Registry. The Petition argues that any and all law enforcement access to the Registry is illegal. The Emergency Rules Petition provides further details of confidentiality breaches and states:

"Over 200,000 patients, former-patients and caregivers have had their confidential data compromised in unknown ways. The many documented leaks of Registry information reported by the Auditor constitute a substantial failure of the CDPHE to protect the confidential Registry as required by the Constitution. It is unclear what information was given to whom and when, or even how many copies of the Registry exist. Because of these massive failures, the Registry must be presumed to be breached in its entirety. Even one breach of the registry is too many."

"Patients can no longer trust the CDPHE to maintain the confidential Registry that they paid them to maintain. The current Registry must be disabled, and an entirely new system must be devised to create a new Registry that is truly confidential."

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL CTI/PCRLP PETITION

CDPHE MISSING CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS
The Auditor's Report also reveals many other areas where the confidentiality of patients has been violated, including access by state agencies and outside contractors to Registry data that the CDPHE cannot directly control. One of the entities that has full access to the Registry is an outside contractor operating the COHELP hotline, which is the state's main BIO-TERRORISM hotline. However, according to the Auditor, 95% of COHELP calls concern the Medical Marijuana Registry. CDHPE has no contract with COHELP and has no direct oversight. Because of this, the Auditor concludes, "The medical marijuana program does not have control of the work performance of COHELP staff."

In addition, the Auditor stated that CDPHE was unable to provide signed confidentiality statements of 30% of the people that they checked in their random sample. A Colorado Open Records Request (CORA) from PCRLP revealed that the CDPHE has confidentiality statements from only a fraction of the people who have had access to the Registry. To get the other missing confidentiality agreements, the CDPHE directed PCRLP to contact the following outside entities and private contractors: Express Employment Professionals (a temp agency that the CDPHE hired to enter Registry applications), Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, and the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT). This is more proof of the Auditor's concerns that the CDPHE does not have direct control over the people and entities that have access to the Registry.

PARALLEL DATABASE AND PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION
In addition to the Auditor's report, the official Agreement between the CDPHE and CBI regarding "Law Enforcement Queries of the Medical Marijuana Registry Information" dated October 2012 (obtained through another CORA request) provides more details on law enforcement access to patient data.

CLICK HERE TO READ CBI/CDPHE DATABASE AGREEMENT

The CBI/CDPHE Agreement on page 3-4 states: "The CCIC transaction log . . . records every inquiry made through CCIC as well as the provided response . . . The log's record of prior transactions is maintained for at least five years and its access is restricted to CCIC support personnel at CBI only."

This means the CBI is keeping all results of its queries to the Registry, including names of patients, in their own "parallel database". Since only the CBI can access this data, no one can determine how the CBI may use or abuse this confidential patient information.

A recent Reuters' story uncovered the common police practice of "Parallel Construction", where law enforcement will use unlawfully-obtained secret tips to begin investigations on people. There are no safeguards in the CBI/CDPHE Agreement preventing law enforcement from using confidential Registry information in their "parallel database" to begin investigations into people, and then use "parallel construction" to cover-up the original source of information.

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MARIJUANA USERS
All marijuana users, including patients, face discrimination in employment, housing, veteran's benefits, child custody, health insurance, automobile insurance, organ transplants, firearm ownership, occupational licensing and in interactions with law enforcement. The main purpose of the Registry was to allow patients to use medical marijuana in a confidential way. With all the leaks of this private information reported by the Auditor, the Registry can no longer be trusted to protect patient information, and the sanctity of the Registry may never be repaired.

DONATE TO CTI
Help us continue to pursue this issue. This research effort has taken many hours of work, and there is much more work to be done. Please be generous so we may continue our efforts:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/donate.html

Supporting Documents

2010: DOR PREDICTS LAW ENFORCEMENT REGISTRY BREACHES
Three years ago this month, Fern Epstein, a consultant with Rebound Solutions who was hired by the Department of Revenue to help design the seed to sale tracking database, gave an overview of the plan to breach the Registry.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuYn9C_BbjM

 

 

 

Cannabis Therapy Institute
Phone: 877-420-4205
Web: www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com
Email: info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com


 

 

 

 

 

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