^
Keep Westword Free
4

Ask a Stoner: Does HIPAA Apply to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?

Ask a Stoner: Does HIPAA Apply to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?
Westword

Dear Stoner: Do HIPAA laws apply to dispensary owners in Colorado? They had no idea what happened to papers I signed, and it feels like these documents weren’t treated with any privacy.
Lee

Dear Lee: This is where that state/federal law can get a little messy. Medical marijuana legalization and protection for patients only occurs at the state level, but the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is federal legislation. Because the federal government still doesn’t officially recognize the legality of state MMJ programs, national laws like HIPAA don’t necessarily apply to dispensaries or MMJ patients, since they’re already breaking the law to begin with.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Ask a Stoner: Does HIPAA Apply to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries?EXPAND
Jacqueline Collins

But just because the feds don’t have your back on this doesn’t mean the state won’t. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guards all patient data and information, and it’s illegal for dispensaries to share your patient information with other stores. Outside of your doctor, caregiver or caregiver dispensary, only designated CDPHE employees — and no other entity — can look at patient information. Even state and local law enforcement are only allowed to confirm a patient’s card if a patient is approached or arrested. This is all state law, so remind your dispensary about the policy if you feel that your privacy has been breached, or reach out to the CDPHE at medical.marijuana@state.co.us.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.