The Colorado Board of Health today denied a petition submitted by the Cannabis Therapy Institute asking the board for emergency rulemaking regarding the state’s medical marijuana registry.
The petition cited findings of the state auditor’s report on the registry. The audit findings directed the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which maintains the registry, to get advice from the Attorney General’s office about addressing issues raised in the audit. That work is ongoing.
Among the concerns expressed in the petition was the ability of state law enforcement to verify with the department whether an individual who has been detained is registered for medical marijuana. Amendment 20, which created the medical marijuana registry in 2000, established that Colorado law enforcement would have access to verify whether an individual is a member of the registry.
The petition submitted by the Cannabis Therapy Institute stated “CDPHE (the department) has no legal authority to link up the confidential medical marijuana Registry with the CBI-CCIC crime computer. As such, the CDPHE must disable these systems immediately and permanently.” CBI is the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and CCIC is the Colorado Crime Information Center.
Security protections are in place to maintain confidentiality of the registry. Law officers are not able to “fish” for names to determine whether an individual is in the registry. In order for law enforcement to verify whether someone is in the registry, the officer must be able to submit the individual’s name, date of birth and registry identification card number. An inquiry from law enforcement containing just one or two of those items would be rejected. The system is designed so that in the event an individual detained by law enforcement produces a registry card, the card can be verified as authentic by the state medical marijuana registry.
During the board’s discussion of the petition for emergency rulemaking, one board member said he would vote to deny the petition, not because issues raised in the petition are not of concern, but because the matter did not warrant emergency rulemaking.
The department will consider whether to bring any new rulemaking hearings to the Board of Health based upon advice from the Attorney General’s Office.