Attorney General Bill Schuette should push for medical marijuana patients' privacy in federal investigation, attorney says

John Agar reports:

The attorney for medical-marijuana advocates said state Attorney General Bill Schuette, a critic of the state’s medical-marijuana law, should fight a federal request for patients’ confidential records.

The federal government filed a court request to enforce its subpoena for information.

In a court filing this week, Schuette said the state Department of Community Health, which compiles a registry of medical-marijuana users and providers, would turn over information if ordered to do so by a judge.

His stance prompted Traverse City attorney Jesse Williams to seek legal standing in the case for his clients. He represents Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs and 42 unnamed clients who, he said, are “subject of the DEA’s subpoenas.”

Read more on Mlive.  This is certainly not the only case involving the records of medical marijuana patients, but it is troubling.  If medical marijuana is legal, then its use should be treated the same as the use of any other prescription medication.  Government has often conducted investigation of misuse of abuse of some medications, but as the reporter notes, who represents the interests of the patients in this case:

In a 30-page filing, Williams said the government is seeking confidential records of up to 42 people who have been recommended by doctors to use marijuana for medical reasons.

“Applicants and medical marihuana patients throughout Michigan have a heightened expectation of privacy in such records, as they concern especially sensitive medical consultations; physicians have a recognized constitutional right to create such records without fear of federal punishment or investigation,” Williams wrote.

Williams, who contends the DEA is on a “fishing expedition,” said neither party in the case is representing those on the registry.

On the premise of “First they came for….” we should all be watching this case with an eye to ensuring that patient confidentiality is not weakened.

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