Monday, April 24, 2006

Don't Bogart That Joint, My Friend

Sometimes I love opening my email:

A Palm Desert medical marijuana dispensary is being required to turn clients' names over to authorities, and client advocates say that violates their privacy rights.
Palm Desert city attorney David Erwin said the deal between the city and the CannaHelp dispensary on El Paseo, is merely meant to ensure that the dispensary is obeying state law.
The agreement, negotiated by Erwin and James Warner of San Diego, a lawyer for the CannaHelp dispensary, requires the dispensary to turn over clients' names and state ID card numbers to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

See, the sheriff's department wants all of the clinic's patient names. Because they most likely would like to find out who is smoking pot. And I imagine they want this for both the reasons they state, and becuase they would like to know who to bust next time the spinner stops on "Medical Marijauna= Illegal" --- needless to say, the users are a little shy about this.

This is one of the subjects I wish it was possible to discuss rationally. As a privacy issue, I would have to say that if it is being dispensed as medicine, and by a doctor's perscription, then it should be covered under HIPAA. If the clinic does not qualify as a provider, then the physician should extend to them a BA agreement, as PHI is used to determine if a patient qualifies and the amount to be dispensed.

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