THCF protects patients in federal court, 2 articles and Federal Court Order

D. Paul Stanford crrh97286 at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 25 21:36:13 CET 2008


											
												
												2 articles: We quashed the federal subpoena for patient records. Articles from The Oregonian and The Stranger.


Read the court order in which the Chief
U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington, Judge Robert H. Whaley in Yakima, WA concludes, "{THCF Medical} Clinic's records represents the implementation of the State's program and are integral to the success of the program." :


http://www.thc-foundation.org/downloads/federalquash

Article from The Oregonian:



													
												
												


												

												
												http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/118904732993670.xml&coll=7
 Ruling protects pot patients Privacy - A federal judge denies  a grand jury access to Oregon medical marijuana treatment records  

Thursday, September 06, 2007
ANNE SAKER 
The Oregonian  Staff 

A
federal judge has thrown out sweeping subpoenas for patient records
kept by Oregon's medical marijuana program and a private clinic, saying
privacy concerns overruled a grand jury's demand for information. 

Chief
U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley in Yakima ruled on the subpoenas
four months after a grand jury in that city issued them. The grand jury
wanted to know about 17 patients who got medical marijuana from a
grower with operations in Oregon and Washington. 

Advocates for
medical marijuana have said the subpoenas marked a new tactic in
federal efforts to stop state-run programs such as Oregon's. In
California, federal drug agents have closed medical marijuana
dispensaries and prosecuted doctors who prescribed marijuana to
patients. 

The state of Oregon and the private Hemp and
Cannabis Foundation went to court this summer to stop the subpoenas,
and Whaley convened a hearing Aug. 1. 
In his eight-page decision
issued Tuesday, Whaley wrote that grand juries have wide latitude to
conduct investigations and can issue subpoenas for almost any kind of
information. The subpoenas cannot be quashed unless the person or
organization fighting the subpoena can show the demand is unreasonable,
the judge said. 

Whaley found that the subpoenas against Oregon's program and  the foundation were unreasonable. 

"There
is an obvious tension between the state's authorization of the
production and use of marijuana as a medicine and the federal authority
to make such activity a crime," Whaley wrote. "The point at which that
tension should be broken by the compelled production of records to a
federal grand jury has not been reached with these subpoenas." 

Oregon
voters enacted the state's medical marijuana program in 1998, and
14,868 state residents hold patient cards. Another 7,115 people hold
licenses to grow medical marijuana; they cannot sell marijuana but can
accept donations to defray expenses. 

The state law governing the program expressly states  that medical records will be kept confidential. 

The
Hemp and Cannabis Foundation is a Portland organization with clinics in
Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Hawaii where doctors can examine
patients and determine whether marijuana would be useful as medicine. 

Whaley
tossed out the subpoena to the foundation because its medical records
"represent implementation of the state's program and are integral to
the success of the program." 

D. Paul Stanford, the
foundation's founder and chief executive officer, said Wednesday the
ruling will "protect medical marijuana patients' records and
confidentiality. There are limits to the government's power to
intimidate doctors and patients, and fortunately, the federal courts
have delineated those limits." 

Adam Wolf, a lawyer for the
American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project who argued on
behalf of the foundation, said the ACLU believes the case is important.
"This should reassure physicians and patients that they are safe," Wolf
said. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Hagerty in Yakima, who is
presenting the evidence to the grand jury, was on vacation and not
available to comment. When contacted last month about the subpoenas,
Hagerty refused to discuss the investigation. 

But Stanford
said the grand jury is looking at one man who ran a Goldendale, Wash.,
grow site for Oregon patients and an Estacada site for Washington
patients. Stanford said that activity was not allowed under either
state's medical marijuana program. 

Madeline Martinez,
executive director of the Oregon branch of the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was jubilant over the ruling. 
"I'm
celebrating! Power to the people!" she said. "We were really afraid
that this big, broad arm of the government was trying to overreach.
We're patients. We're not criminals. We're just thrilled to pieces
about this." 

The ruling comes just before Oregon NORML, the
Hemp and Cannabis Foundation and other groups convene the third annual
Hempstalk festival this weekend at Sellwood-Riverside Park. The city of
Portland had turned down the group's application for a permit for the
event but relented after the ACLU stepped in.

*end artticle one, second article below*

 
 http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/09/us_court_rebukes_deas_attempt_to_crack_m

US  Court Rebukes DEA's Attempt to Crack Medical Marijuana Records 

Posted by  Dominic Holden  on September 5 at 1:35 PMAds appearing each week on the back of the  Stranger and Seattle Weekly
– and similar papers on the West Coast and in Hawaii – are pretty much
picking a fight with the feds: "Medical marijuana. Our doctors can
help." The ads then provide a phone number for The Hemp and Cannabis
Foundation clinic, which connects patients with doctors who specialize
in writing medical marijuana authorizations for the sick and dying. To
the the Drug Enforcement Administration, however, THCF is flagrantly
running a multi-state business that permits people to violate federal
law. 

On May 24th, the feds had had enough; ­federal prosecutor
James Hagerty, at the behest of the DEA, filed a subpoena for the
records of 17 individuals, 14 of whom were patients with marijuana
permits from doctors at the clinic. But the subpoena had broader
implications, too. 11 of those named were registered patients with
Oregon's Department of Human Services medical-marijuana program, and the subpoena also demanded that the State of Oregon turn over those  patients' private medical records to the feds. 

But
in a formal rebuke yesterday afternoon, a federal Judge sided with the
state and the clinic, granting a motion to quash both subpoenas. "Absent
a further showing of necessity and relevance, compliance with the
subpoena would impact significant State and medical privacy interests
and is unreasonable," wrote Judge Robert H. Whaley of the U.S.
Court Eastern District of Washington. The ruling represents a major
defeat for the DEA and a victory for states with dissenting drug
policies.

Adam Wolf, a staff attorney for the ACLU's Drug Law
Reform Project, was the lead counsel for the clinic. On the phone this
morning from Santa Cruz, he summarized the decision by saying, "Doctors
and their patients who use medical marijuana are safe from the prying
eyes of federal prosecutors." 

What Wolf didn't say is that had
the ruling gone the other way it would have ominous ramifications. Paul
Stanford, director of THCF, says forcing the state and clinic to hand
over private records "would have had a chilling effect, making it more
difficult for patients to get past the paranoia of registering with the
state, as [required by law] in Oregon."

Really, who would want
to join a medical marijuana program if it meant your medical records
became an open book and SWAT teams could come crashing through your
door as you lay on your death bed? (As it stands currently, authorized
patients are immune from conviction in states with medical-pot laws­as
long as they grow a small enough amount to stay out of federal court.)

The
case originated out of Yakima, Washington. Three individuals suspected
of growing marijuana were alleged to have distributed pot to the
patients named in the suit. Originally, feds sought all medical records
from those patients; then restricted the request, in oral argument
before the judge, to request only addresses and phone numbers,
according to yesterday's order. The shift in scope, to basic contact
information already available to the all-seeing eyes of the feds,
showed the DEA's cards. "They were trying to intimidate patients and
doctors from participating in the medical marijuana program­clearly
unnecessary for the investigation [into the three suspected marijuana
growers]," says Stanford.

The judge saw through  the bullshit, too: "The
Government has not shown why it needs to obtain all of the addresses
and phone numbers from the State of Oregon and the THCF Medical Clinic
rather than from some other source."

Federal prosecutors may  ask judges to reconsider the decision in the 9th District Court of  Appeals.



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