Your medical records are not likely something you share, even with those closest to you. What’s included in those records is your business and yours alone. But the state of Oregon was recently compelled to hand over an “untold number” of medical records to federal agents, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, all in an effort to continue the federal government’s war on marijuana.
The records were handed over in November of last year and were said to be a part of the federal investigation into medical pot growers in Oregon contributing to the black market. At least this is what a special agent with the DEA said to justify the warrant.
“I know that in order to effectively pursue this investigation, I need to investigate each of the patients, growers and caregivers associated with names discovered in the investigation,” said agent Michael Gutensohn. “I have probable cause to believe that records from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program will contain evidence and instrumentalities of marijuana manufacturing and trafficking and conspiracy to commit marijuana manufacturing and trafficking offenses.”
Just how many patient records he received with his warrant, we don’t know, but a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon said the only ones requested were those connected to the investigation. (Hardly reassuring).
Because marijuana growing, selling, or even possessing is still against federal law, the feds could likely seize all records of medical marijuana patients in the state. They could justify this by saying they are all under suspicion of breaking federal laws. It would be a legally sound argument.
Reconciling state and federal laws is a conundrum, to be sure. But in a country like this, most of us would like to see the wishes of the majority respected. So, for instance, if the majority of voters in Oregon wanted a medical marijuana program (which they do), we would like the feds to swallow their pride and butt out.
For their part, the Oregon Public Health Division says they “routinely release records pursuant to a court order,” but cushions that statement by saying, “it is also true that OMMP does what it can to avoid releasing medical records when it gets a court order if medical records are not needed.”
Is it possible that the federal government knows the name of every medical marijuana patient in Oregon? It’s not just possible, it’s fact. And now, they have the records to go with the names.
If you are charged with a marijuana crime, whether you use it for medicine or fun, you need an advocate within the legal system. Contact our offices today to discuss the charges against you and how we may be able to help.