Medical cannabis privacy issues worries Oklahoma Patient Advocates

Tulsa World writes…

A law that takes effect later this month has a provision allowing the Oklahoma State Department of Health to give law enforcement access to information displayed on medical marijuana patient licenses. But amid concerns about privacy and possible legal conflicts, a leading state lawmaker said he asked for a delay on implementation and expects the clause could be removed during the next legislative session.

Senate Bill 1030, whose primary author was Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, will become law Aug. 29. It establishes protocols for officers to issue citations for those in possession of marijuana who can cite a medical condition but do not have a license. It also defines what would be considered an “undue change or restriction of municipal zoning laws” for municipalities when they receive applications for medical marijuana businesses.

But the section that concerns patient advocates Lawrence Pasternack and Norma Sapp is a clause that states the OSDH shall make available “all information” shown on patient licenses to law enforcement through the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, or OLETS.

Sapp and Pasternack, along with Chris Moe, recently formed the Oklahoma Cannabis Liberty Alliance advocacy organization and said they considered the bill one of their highest priorities for legislative changes. They called the provision “just about the worst thing that could possibly happen” for the state’s medical cannabis program, and Pasternack said it was “absurd” to give law enforcement access to information related in any way to patients’ health.

The OKCLA contends the bill in its current language opens the door for police using OLETS, which is used for interstate, intrastate and interagency criminal justice purposes, to tie patients’ cardholder statuses to their vehicle tags or driver’s licenses.

Oklahoma law considers a person to be in the commission of a DUI if there is any amount of a schedule I substance or its metabolites in their system, regardless of whether they are actively intoxicated. Sapp said, to her, that in effect means medical cannabis users will face legal risks each time they drive because “marijuana” is still included in the state’s legal definition of schedule I substances.

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