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FREE NEWSLETTER

For immediate release: Jan. 31, 2011

Update on DOR Hearings
Dept. of Revenue to Begin "Serious Enforcement" of New Rules on March 1

Click here to read CTI's Emergency Rules petition

VIDEO

PHOTOS

Department of Revenue, MMED hearing, Jan. 27, 2011
Jefferson County Justice Center

Permission to reprint these photos is granted. Credit to colorado420.com.

The MMED's new logo. Who ever thought they would see a law enforcement badge with the words "medical marijuana" on it? Thanks to $10 million in application fees from Colorado dispensaries.

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Reminder: Legal Seminar This Week
Attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr. Legal Training on New Rules
Thurs., Feb. 3, 2011
CLICK HERE TO ENROLL:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/classes
===================================

{Denver} -- The Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the Colorado Department of Revenue concluded two days of rulemaking hearings at the Jefferson County Justice Center on 1/27 and 1/28. The MMED took testimony on new rules regarding Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs). The rulemaking was necessary to implement HB 10-1284, a bill passed by the state legislature in 2010 that created MMC's as a way to put 80% of medical marijuana providers out of business. The MMED has said that "serious enforcement" of these 96 pages of new rules will begin on March 1. Public comment will be accepted until Feb. 11.

Only about 60 people attended the hearing on the first day, and less than half of them testified. A small handful of people testified the next day. Even though the new rules will affect hundreds of Medical Marijuana Center (MMC) applicants, less than 10 MMC applicants testified at the hearings. Because of the lack of interest, the MMED closed the hearings early on both days.

Most of the people who testified were patients concerned about privacy issues. The new rules give the MMED the authority to start collecting patient information through a complicated database and surveillance system that will monitor patient purchase from "seed to sale" and alert the MMED when a patient goes over two ounces of cannabis.

CTI Petitions Department of Revenue for Emergency Rules At the hearing, the Cannabis Therapy Institute made two petitions to the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the Colorado Department of
Revenue (DoR) regarding patient privacy.

Click here to read CTI's Emergency Rules petition

CTI filed two emergency petitions. The first was directed at protecting patient privacy. The proposed new rule reads as follows:

Proposed Emergency Rule #1
Because the rights of patient privacy is guaranteed by Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, be it hereby declared that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division (MMED) of the Department of Revenue?s rules regarding the "sales, manufacturing and dispensing of medical marijuana" (1 CCR 212) be amended by the inclusion of the following new section:

43.3-xxx Patient Privacy Regulations
(1) The MMED shall not require Medical Marijuana Centers to photograph, videotape, duplicate or in any other way record any patient identifying information, including but not limited to their faces, their CDPHE Registry ID cards or their photo IDs.

(2) The MMED shall not require Medical Marijuana Centers to keep patient identifying information. MMC?s will be required only to check a patient's CDPHE Registry ID card for validity on its face and they shall not be required to photograph, videotape, duplicate or in any other way record any patient identifying information.

The second emergency rule dealt with the fact that the rulemaking process itself was flawed because it did not comply with Colorado's Open Meetings Law. Specifically, CTI asserted that the DoR had failed to comply with CRS
24-6-402 (2) (a) which requires that "all meetings of two or more members of any state public body at which any public business is discussed or at which any formal action may be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times."

In July 2010, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division formed the "Medical Marijuana Workgroup", a 25 person advisory committee composed of industry and government members, to give input on the new rules needed to implement HB 10-1284. The "Workgroup" members became the "stakeholders" referred to in the proposed rules. They were chosen without any public input.

The MMED originally planned to hold their "stakeholder" meetings in private, but after pressure from patient advocates and the press, they agreed to hold the meetings in public with proper notice. From August to December 2010, the "stakeholders" had a handful of public meetings. At their second public meeting, the MMED created several sub-committees of the workgroup. From September through December 2010, these sub-committees met repeatedly outside of the public meetings in private to discuss public business. At each of these private sub-committee meetings, the "stakeholders" developed medical marijuana policy advice that was incorporated into the MMED's new proposed rules. The public was not allowed to attend these private sub-committee meetings, in violation of CRS 24-6-402 (2) (a).

The MMED has said in the past that the workgroup stakeholders did not formally give advice on the rules. However, the "stakeholders" were referred to 12 times in the 99 pages of proposed rules as having had an effect on the final version of the rules.

To remedy the situation, CTI proposed an emergency rule that would create a permanent Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee to advise on rulemaking. The members of the MMAC would have strict term limits and a more open selection process. The first task of the new Committee would be to hold a public meeting where they will review the draft rules that are currently under consideration.

CTI felt it was important to address the lack of transparency in the rulemaking process and create a permanent advisory committee that at least had the appearance of representing more than a handful of industry special
interests.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

EMAIL PUBLIC COMMENTS
You can send public comments up until Feb. 11, 2011 at 5pm.

Click here to read the rules on the DoR Website:
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Rev-Enforcement/RE/1251575119584

Send comments to:
MMEDRulecomments@dor.state.co.us

Please send a copy of your comments to the Cannabis Therapy Institute:
info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

SAMPLE LETTER
The new Department of Revenue rules related to video surveillance and tracking of patient purchases violate the patients' right to confidentiality guaranteed in the Article XVIII Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution.

###

DONATIONS REQUESTED
CTI's Patient Advocacy Project is on the forefront of protection patient rights in Colorado. Our "Defend the Registry" Campaign is vital to protecting the confidentiality of medical marijuana users in Colorado. WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US! Please help us protect patient privacy by making a donation or becoming a CTI sponsor. The more support we have, the more work we can do. Please join us today!
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/donate.html


OLDER UPDATES

URGENT: Public Comment Needed on DoR Rules

The Colorado Department of Revenue has released 96 pages of new regulations governing medical marijuana. The most concerning aspect of these new rules is the invasion of patient privacy they allow. In order to purchase medicine at a Medical Marijuana Center, patients will be forced to give up their constitutional right to confidentiality and become willing participants in the Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient and Medicine Tracking Database and Surveillance System. This new database will cost $4 million to set up, and will track everything from seed to sale. This will include every time a patient enters an MMC, including what they purchase and when, where and how often they purchase their medicine.

This new database will *replace* the confidential CDPHE registry and will be shared with agencies that including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment, state and local law enforcement, and more.

There are no security guidelines for how this information will be kept secure. As we have seen with WikiLeaks, it is virtually impossible to guarantee that electronic records will remain confidential.

This is an unprecedented assault on the Constitutional guarantee to confidentiality of medical marijuana patients in Colorado. We MUST stop the state from developing this database and replacing the confidential registry.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

You can send public comments up until the hearing on Feb. 11, 2011 at 5pm.

Click here to read the rules on the DoR Website:
http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/Rev-Enforcement/RE/1251575119584

Send comments to:
MMEDRulecomments@dor.state.co.us

Please send a copy of your comments to the Cannabis Therapy Institute:
info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

Watch the video describing the new database that will replace the confidential registry:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuYn9C_BbjM

Public Hearing

Jan. 27-28, 2011
(Thurs. and Fri.)
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Jefferson County Justice Center
Administration and Courts Facility
Hearing Room (HR 1)
100 Jefferson County Parkway Golden, CO

Written comments will also be accepted at the hearing.


Draft DoR Rules (2010-12-10)

Page 45: II. SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM STANDARDS (E) (3)
"A single fixed camera shall be placed above at each Point of Sale location allowing for the clear and certain identification of the transacting individual and related identification. A single fixed camera shall be placed at above each Point of Sale location allowing for the recording and recognition of any transacting individuals identification and medical marijuana removed from the premises. This will be accomplished by temporarily placing the authorized identification, and registry card in a 12" x 12" area on the counter top, where they will be captured from the above mounted camera."

According to an AP article in September, "Officials are also considering fingerprinting marijuana patients and keeping tabs on pot with radio-frequency (RFID) devices."
http://www.9news.com/rss/article.aspx?storyid=155618

These invasions of patient privacy are a clear violation of the Colorado's Medical Marijuana Amendment, which requires that the CDPHE maintain a confidential registry of patients that can be accessed only for the purpose of determining whether a person who has been detained by law enforcement is a member of the Registry.

Medical marijuana patients have always faced serious discrimination in employment, health insurance, custody cases, veteran benefits and many other areas. Therefore, confidentiality was written into the Colorado Constitution as the backbone of the right to safe access to cannabis medicine.


Update Dec. 13, 2010

In a Colorado Independent interview, Lance Clem of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation states that the patient Registry will be accessible through the Colorado Crime Information Center database. Clem states, "No medical information goes into the database. The CCIC system simply communicates with the registry and returns with a 'yes' or 'no' response."

This is the first confirmation that the CCIC database will be involved in the Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient and Medicine Tracking Database and Surveillance System. Electronic privacy is by no means guaranteed -- take Wikileaks for example. The Registry database must remain on a separate computer inside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that is not hooked up to an internal or external network. Access needs to remain by telephone or fax only for law enforcement who have detained a patient and only to check that the patient is a member of the Registry. This is how the Registry currently works.

The Constitution only allows for law enforcement to contact the CDPHE to get their 'yes' or 'no' after they have "stopped or arrested" someone who claims to be a patient. See below Colorado Constitution - Article XVIII Section 14.

The only problem with the current system is that there is no one to access the Registry after 5pm and on weekends. The solution is to hire a night shift at the CDPHE, not to try to link the information in with a massive government database.

Only the CDPHE has the right to keep patient information. The CCIC, the Department of Revenue, and all other agencies have no authority to store, track or access any patient information, even a 'yes' or 'no'.


For immediate release, Dec. 6, 2010

State to Replace Confidential Medical Marijuana Registry with Law Enforcement Database

{Denver} -- At the Colorado Department of Revenue's Medical Marijuana Advisory Board's final meeting on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, the DoR unveiled details about the monolithic database it is creating to gather volumes of private information on medical marijuana patients.

WATCH VIDEO
Fern Epstein, a consultant with Rebound Solutions who was hired by the Department of Revenue to help design the database, gave an overview of the plan. Click here to watch the video of her presentation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuYn9C_BbjM
(Note: The powerpoint slides were impossible to see even in the room.)

The database will be shared among several state agencies, including the Department of Revenue, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and all state, local and federal law enforcement, including the Colorado Crime Information Center and the Colorado Bureau of
Investigation.

Epstein stated that there "needs to be some interface between various information technology databases." She explained, "Revenue needs information from the Registry. The Registry needs information from the Department of Revenue, and law enforcement needs information from both of
those organizations."

She also stated that law enforcement will have "24/7 access to Registry data" and the new database will "give access to officers on the street and in their patrol cars -- access to registry and Department of Revenue data."

Epstein said, "The goal is for replacement of the Registry probably within a year's time."

This patient and medicine tracking database is a clear violation of the Article XVIII, Section 14 of Constitution, Colorado's Medical Marijuana Amendment, which requires that the health agency maintain a confidential registry of patients, which can only be accessed by law enforcement for the
purpose of determining whether a person who has been detained is a member of the Registry.

Colorado Constitution - ARTICLE XVIII. Section 14

(3) The state health agency shall create and maintain a confidential registry of patients who have applied for and are entitled to receive a registry identification card according to the criteria set forth in this subsection, effective June 1, 2001.

(a) No person shall be permitted to gain access to any information about patients in the state health agency's confidential registry, or any information otherwise maintained by the state health agency about physicians and primary care-givers, except for authorized employees of the state health agency in the course of their official duties and authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies which have stopped or arrested a person who claims to be engaged in the medical use of marijuana and in possession of a registry identification card or its functional equivalent, pursuant to paragraph (e) of this subsection (3). Authorized employees of state or local law enforcement agencies shall be granted access to the information contained within the state health agency's confidential registry only for the purpose of verifying that an individual
who has presented a registry identification card to a state or local law enforcement official is lawfully in possession of such card.

TAKE ACTION
Now is the time for the industry to fight back and protect patients' Constitutional right to privacy.

Get on our mailing list to receive future updates:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com

FUND THE FIGHT
Please consider donating or becoming a monthly sponsor to help us fight to
maintain patient's constitutional rights.
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/donate.html



PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release, Dec. 5, 2010

Department of Revenue Meeting Monday to Discuss Patient Tracking System

{Denver} -- The Colorado Department of Revenue is in the final stages of writing hundreds of pages of new regulations that will control medical marijuana. A draft version of the rules was released on Dec. 2, 2010. You can read them here:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/legal/rules/dor/

There will be a public hearing of the Department of Revenue Rulemaking Advisory Committee to discuss these rules on Monday at the Department of Revenue. The public is invited to attend, but not to speak.

Mon., Dec. 6, 2010
Department of Revenue Rulemaking Advisory Board Meeting
Location: Department of Revenue, Gaming Conference Room
1881 Pierce Street, Lakewood, CO
Time: 9:00 am to at least noon, maybe later

Once the final rules have been published, the public will have 30 days to submit written comments and then a public hearing will be held, probably in January. In the meantime, please send your comments to info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com to help us compile a comprehensive response.

The Colorado legislature last year gave the Department of Revenue great authority to control medical marijuana, pushing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to a minor role in the medical marijuana program.

The DoR collected $10 million in application fees from former caregivers and created an entire new branch of law enforcement dedicated to policing medical marijuana, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. The cornerstone of the MMED's enforcement practices will be the Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient and Medicine Tracking Database and Surveillance System, an unprecedented assault on patient rights to privacy. This new system will track every patient purchase from "seed to sale." A database of patient purchases and medicine inventory will be shared by at least 5 different government agencies and open to local, state, and federal law enforcement on demand. The system will also include video surveillance systems of every place medical marijuana is cultivated or sold, which will be accessible to law enforcement agents 24/7 through the Internet.

The DoR's draft rules don't describe the database in detail, but they do contain the following provision.

Draft Rulemaking Document (2010-12-10)
Page 45: II. SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM STANDARDS (E) (3)

"A single fixed camera shall be placed above at each Point of Sale location allowing for the clear and certain identification of the transacting individual and related identification. A single fixed camera shall be placed at above each Point of Sale location allowing for the recording and recognition of any transacting individuals identification and medical marijuana removed from the premises. This will be accomplished by temporarily placing the authorized identification, and registry card in a 12" x 12" area on the counter top, where they will be captured from the above mounted camera."

This new system will require patients to be photographed with their Registry ID card, their Drivers License, and the amount of medicine that they purchase for each transaction. This will create a record of each patient's picture with the medicine that they purchase and their name, also open to law enforcement on demand.

According to an AP article in September, "Officials are also considering fingerprinting marijuana patients and keeping tabs on pot with radio-frequency (RFID) devices."
http://www.9news.com/rss/article.aspx?storyid=155618

These invasions of patient privacy are a clear violation of the Colorado's Medical Marijuana Amendment, which requires that the CDPHE maintain a confidential registry of patients that can be accessed only for the purpose of determining whether a person who has been detained by law enforcement is a member of the Registry.

Medical marijuana patients have always faced serious discrimination in employment, health insurance, custody cases, veteran benefits and many other areas. Therefore, confidentiality was written into the Colorado Constitution as the backbone of the right to safe access to cannabis medicine.

If you are concerned about medical privacy issues, please attend the Department of Revenue meeting on Dec. 6 or get on the Cannabis Therapy Institute's mailing list to be informed of other upcoming actions.
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/


For immediate release: Aug. 31, 2010

Dept. of Revenue Reveals Draft Rules for MMJ Industry

Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project Formed

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{Denver} -- The Colorado Department of Revenue released 92 pages of draft rules for the medical marijuana industry last week. The DOR will use these draft rules as a basis to form permanent rules for the medical marijuana industry.

Click here to read the draft rules (PDF file)

The draft rules were revealed on Friday, August 27, 2010 at the first "workgroup" meeting of 25 people who will "give guidance" to the Department of Revenue on their rulemaking process. This was the same workgroup meeting that the DOR tried to hold in private, until CTI pressured the DOR to obey the Open Meetings Act (Sunshine Law) and open the meeting to the public. About 70 members of the public attended the meeting.

Matt Cook, Colo. Dept. of Revenue Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division,
Discusses "Seed to Sale" Web-based Tracking System

Photos of Medical Marijuana "Workgroup" Meeting
Friday, Aug. 27, 2010
Department of Revenue Gaming Conference Room, Lakewood, Colo.
(Permission to reprint these photos is granted as long as credit goes to colorado420.com)

dor.workgroup2.jpg dor.workgroup1.jpg
dor.workgroup3.jpg  

Web-Based Tracking System Announced
At the meeting, the Dept. of Revenue revealed plans for a new web-based "seed to sale" tracking system that they have been developing through weekly meetings with several state agencies and outside consultants. Medical cannabis activists are concerned that this tracking system will violate patient confidentiality guaranteed in the Constitution.

Click here to watch a video of Matt Cook, head of the new Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Department of Revenue, describing the system.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIHwxj_sD1s

Surveillance and Recording Requirements
The rules include 10 pages of new requirements for state-of-the-art video surveillance and recording systems to be installed in every location that sells, grows or processes medical marijuana. The draft rules require video cameras to record every transaction and processing step from seed to sale, inside and outside. They would require the Medical Marijuana Centers to link their Point-Of-Sale system with their video surveillance system to present a text overlay of every transaction on the video recording. The draft rules require patients to place their Registry ID card and drivers license in a 12 x 12 space on the counter under the security camera so it could record their ID with every medical marijuana transaction. The Department of Revenue wants to be able to access these surveillance cameras through the Internet at any time. Medical cannabis activists are concerned that these surveillance requirements will also violate patient privacy rights.

Constitutional Issues
Caregivers operated medical marijuana businesses legally in Colorado for 10 years, until HB1284 was enacted this summer. The stated intention of HB1284 was to put 80% of dispensaries out of business. The Department of Revenue was given the authority to regulate medical marijuana by HB1284, and they have begun writing the hundreds of pages of regulations, which are forcing these formerly legal business owners out of business.

There are good legal arguments that HB1284 is unconstitutional. Prior to HB1284, medical marijuana businesses operated legally in Colorado for 10 years as care-givers under the protection of the Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution (Colorado's Medical Marijuana Amendment).

HB1284 created a new entity called the "Medical Marijuana Center", which has no constitutional protection. In fact, HB1284 requires MMC applicants to give up their constitutional right to be a care-giver. In exchange for these constitutional rights, the state has created the "statutory privilege" of applying to become a "Medical Marijuana Center". Statutes and regulations can be changed at whim by politicians or bureaucrats, offering little protection. However, a constitutional right gives greater protection than statutes, and can only be changed by a vote of the people.

In normal circumstances, no one would dream of giving up their constitutional rights in exchange for a "statutory privilege". However, many caregivers and dispensary owners felt they had no choice but to try to comply with the new "statutory privilege" laws, as they had invested their entire life savings into their businesses. Caregivers reluctantly gave up their constitutional right to provide medicine for their patients, and now they are faced with volumes of new regulations and thousands of dollars more in costs to bring their "centers" into compliance.

Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
The solution is to overturn HB1284 as unconstitutional. The Cannabis Therapy Institute is helping publicize the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project. The PCRLP has several attorneys working from different legal angles to clarify and restore Colorado's Constitutional right to be a caregiver.

The PCRLP needs the help of the entire industry to make this project successful. On Aug. 1, the medical marijuana industry in Colorado gave the state $10 million in application fees so the state could regulate them out of existence. If dispensary owners gave only 10% of that amount to the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project, they could overturn all of these unconstitutional laws and put businesses back on the same track they were before HB1284.

If patients have to swipe a card and get into a government database every time they buy medicine, no patient will want to be part of the program.

If you would like to fight for your Constitutional rights, please send an email to:
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
Email: patientlawsuit@yahoo.com
Describe your particular case and how you would like to be involved in this project. They are currently seeking plaintiffs and funders.

For 10 years prior to HB1284, caregivers in Colorado were allowed to provide medical marijuana to their patients in a safe, compassionate way. It is time for the industry to fight back against these un-Constitutional laws and take the industry back from government regulators, who only seek ways to put dispensaries out of business and open patients to unprecedented levels of scrutiny.

 

Cannabis Therapy Institute
Web: www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com
Email: info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com


 

 

 

 

 

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