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Patient Lawsuit Dismissed by Colorado Supreme Court

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{Denver} — The patient petition filed with the Colorado Supreme Court last
week was denied on Monday (1/10), only 5 days after it was filed. The
Supreme Court opted not to decide the case, forcing the patient and
caregiver plaintiffs to start in lower courts and work their way through
the appellate courts, a process that will take much longer.

The petition had been filed on Jan. 5, 2011 by Andrew B. Reid, senior
counsel for Springer and Steinberg, P.C., a Denver law firm, on behalf of
Kathleen Chippi, a Nederland caregiver and dispensary owner, and the
Patient and Caregivers Rights Litigation project, an association of
patients, caregivers and physicians that have been harmed by the passage of these laws.

The petition was an original jurisdiction petition, asking the Supreme
Court to decide urgent constitutional issues. The Court has discretion on
whether to decide original actions and hears only a small percentage of
such petitions filed each year. So its denial of this case was not a total
surprise, but patients had hoped for more compassion from the court.

“Apparently, the Supreme Court does not think that it is a matter of great
urgency that sick and dying people in Colorado are being denied their
constitutional rights of safe and confidential access to medicine,” says
plaintiff Kathleen Chippi. “This delay in deciding these constitutional
issues only harms patients by forcing them to wait months or years for the
Court’s decision and spend thousands of dollars to decide issues that the
Court knows it will be ruling on eventually. In the meantime, the
Department of Revenue and the state legislature will continue with impunity
to enact unconstitutional laws that harm patients.” She says, “We are
being treated like second-class citizens yet again.”

The petition had asked the court to overturn large parts of laws passed by
the Colorado legislature last year (HB 10-1284 and SB 10-109) because they
restrict patient access to medicine and violate patient privacy rights
guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution.

The Department of Revenue is in the process of replacing the Colorado
Department of Health and Environment’s confidential patient registry with
their own massive government database of patient medicine information. The
new Patient and Medicine Tracking Database and Surveillance System will
cost the state at least $4 million to set up and will be shared by 5
government agencies and state and federal law enforcement. It will include
up to 16,000 different security cameras in Medical Marijuana Centers,
visible to law enforcement via Internet web cameras 24/7. The MMCs will be
required to videotape patients as they purchase their medicine and log each
patient purchase into the database. All of this will be open to law
enforcement, including CBI and DEA, and other agencies on demand.

Just as the state has taken away the Constitutional protection of
caregivers, they are now taking away the Constitutional protection for
patients. MMC applicants were forced to revoke their constitutional right
to be a caregiver in exchange for the statutory privilege of applying to
operate an MMC. Similarly, patients are being told they must revoke their
constitutional right to patient confidentiality in order for the
“privilege” of purchasing their medicine at an MMC. Not only is this is
completely backwards of how the constitution was supposed to work, but it
opens patients up to immeasurable harm if (when) their information is
leaked from the government database. Patients stand to lose their homes,
their jobs, their health insurance, their children and more if it becomes
known that they are medical marijuana patients. That is why confidentiality
is at the foundation of Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Constitutional
Amendment.

Chippi and other patients are worried these electronic patient records can
never be secured on the Internet, as evidenced by WikiLeaks and other
recent “accidental” disclosures of records. Once the records have been
leaked, the harm has been done and is irreparable to patients. Chippi will now file her action in District Court.

This is a press release of the:
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
P.O. Box 1794
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: 1-888-328-4367
Email: patientlawsuit@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.CannabisLawsuits.com/
Provided as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: 877-420-4205
Web: http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com
Email: info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

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