Medical marijuana records found in alley: Did Apothecary of Colorado throw away forms?

In this state, patient medical marijuana records are protected by medical privacy rules and the state constitution. When patients fill out their MMJ applications, it's assumed they will be locked securely away, not even accessible by law enforcement. The last place anyone would expect such forms to appear is next to some back-alley Dumpster - but that's exactly what happened with dozens of patient forms apparently from the Denver dispensary Apothecary of Colorado.

As first reported by 9News, local resident Harold Morton recently found in his back alley a binder of medical marijuana registry forms featuring the social security numbers and other info for dozens of patients. Letterhead in the binder featured the logo of the Apothecary of Colorado, a dispensary on 1730 Blake Street.

Messages to Cynthia Reese, the current owner of the Apothecary of Colorado, and Adam Stapen, the dispensary's registered agent, have not yet been returned. But according to 9News' report, Stapen noted that all their records were "kept under lock and key to protect privacy of patients," and suggested it's possible the records came from the Apothecary when it was under the management of its previous owners, Scott Durrah and Wanda James, who sold the business to Reese on July 1st to focus on Simply Pure, a cannabis edibles company.

James, however, doesn't think that's the case. "We have had nothing to do with the management of the AOC since July 1st, and I would have no knowledge of the paperwork," she says, adding that all their Apothecary patient records were destroyed in early August, after they closed their marijuana farm associated with their dispensary.

Whoever is responsible for the wayward patient records, the situation has marijuana activists up in arms. "We call on the state legislature to pass emergency legislation that will immediately guarantee the security of the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry," says Kathleen Chippi, member of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project in a press release about the patient records. "Coloradans have trusted the state to keep this information safe, and the state has failed miserably." According to the release, the incident highlights the need to overturn the provision of Colorado's new medical marijuana regulations that require patient records to be kept on site at dispensaries, and instead keep all registry records on one secure computer system.

In the meantime, the Chippi recommends Apothecary patients and customers contact their attorneys or the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project for support.

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