Medical marijuana advocates set to file constitutional challenge

Jefferson Dodge reports:

At least one Boulder County resident is planning to challenge state laws regulating the medical marijuana industry in court this month, and dispensaries are being asked to chip in to fund the effort.

Kathleen Chippi, a Nederland resident and former dispensary owner, says that within the next week, she plans to file a constitutional challenge to legislation such as HB 1284, which sets up strict regulations and surveillance systems for dispensaries and other medical marijuana operations in the state. Chippi and other advocates say the new laws go too far and violate patients’ rights secured under Amendment 20 of the Colorado Constitution, which was passed by the state’s voters in 2000.

“I’m just asking that we abide by the Constitution,” Chippi says. “That’s not radical.”

Read more on Boulder Weekly.

Regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries has been on a state-by-state basis. Some dispensaries are covered entities are under HIPAA, but many are not, and the protections for patients vary somewhat wildly. There have also been a number of cases, some reported on this blog, where federal or state agents have raided dispensaries, swooping up all patients’ records. My preference would be to see all dispensaries brought under HIPAA’s security and privacy requirements and protections, but I don’t know if that would take an act of Congress or just new rules promulgated by HHS with the support of Congress or what…

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