Representatives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado Bureau of Investigations will meet today to discuss linking the medical marijuana patient registry with law enforcement computers. Not that you can hear what they have to say: A spokesman stresses that it is not a public meeting.
We first reported on this story back in May, when Representative Beth McCann was floating a bill before the legislature that would have provided about $93,000 to the CBI for the Medical Marijuana Technology Project. At the time, the project had been stalled due to a lack of funding.
Despite the failure of McCann's proposal, the project is moving forward. Today, specifically.
So far, the public information offices of both the CDPHE and the CBI have not been able to provide much, if any, information about the meetings. But activist Robert Chase did manage to find out from CBI director Ron Sloan's secretary that the meeting will be held today at 1 p.m. in Suite 303 of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations' headquarters, 710 Kipling Street in Lakewood.
At this writing, CDPHE spokesman Mark Salley couldn't verify the meeting time, but did write in an e-mail that it is not a public meeting.
No word from the CBI or CDPHE what the agenda for the meeting will be. However, Sloan told us back in May that officials were still working out questions regarding how law enforcement would search the database and what information would automatically come up in a general query. Sloan said that officers would likely be able to search the registry by the patient's name as well as by a registry number.
At the time, Sloan suggested that medical marijuana patients may be flagged automatically, much like sex offenders are currently. If any officer wants more information on the patient, he would be able to get it by conducting an additional search.
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Chase and other activists have continuously argued against the legality of the program, pointing to language in the state's medical marijuana laws that make the registry confidential and only available to CDPHE employees, who can then confirm patient status at the request of law enforcement.
"There is no way they should be able to get away with this," Chase said. "This concerns everyone in the industry."
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Since the meeting isn't public, it's highly unlikely that public comment will be allowed. But I'm sure that won't stop the usually vocal cannabis activists from speaking their mind.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana crime stats may twist facts, activist says" and "Stoner MacGyver marijuana product review: GearBox stash box".