Ruling Protects Pot Patients

Ruling Protects Pot Patients
Posted by CN Staff on September 07, 2007 at 07:15:35 PT
By Anne Saker, The Oregonian
Source: Oregonian
Oregon -- 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. Note: Privacy - A federal judge denies a grand jury access to Oregon medical marijuana treatment records. Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)Author: Anne Saker, The OregonianPublished: September 6, 2007Copyright: 2007 The OregonianContact: letters news.oregonian.comWebsite: Article & Web Sites:Oregon NORML Hemp and Cannabis Foundation http://www.thc-foundation.orgACLU Drug Law Reform Project Ore. Subpoenas Worry MMJ Advocates
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Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on September 07, 2007 at 17:25:27 PT
OT: We're not losing our what?
Warning: This video contains gross images of our Constitutional rights being stomped on., all.Toke.
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Comment #6 posted by Toker00 on September 07, 2007 at 17:20:03 PT
OOps...I meant Impeachment video...
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on September 07, 2007 at 17:13:56 PT
OT: Anti war video
Getting close to action time for more and more of us. Gotta keep it peaceful, though.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on September 07, 2007 at 15:08:56 PT
The feds ought to get used to getting slapped down. They have way overstepped the bounds of human decency.THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment Senior Staff Member Calls for New Investigation of 9/11: Academy of Sciences Member Calls for New 9/11 Investigation: DVD Examines World Trade Center Destruction on 9/11 -
More Than 150 Architects, Engineers, and Demolition Experts Call for Congressional Investigation with Subpoena Power: still awaits 9/11 answers:§ionid=3510203Neo-Cons Enlist Bin Laden's Help To Counter 9/11 Truth: bin Laden: The Newest Fake:
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Comment #3 posted by OverwhelmSam on September 07, 2007 at 09:59:28 PT
Simple Reality
Fight for and exercise your rights, or lose them forever. Get acquited and then sue the police. It's a numbers game really. If enough police officers get fired, sued or put in jail for enforcing cannabis laws, they and their families will suffer. They will eventually wake up and realize, marijuana law enforcement is just not worth it because cannabis consumers are a powerful lobby.
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Comment #2 posted by museman on September 07, 2007 at 09:49:28 PT
Another reason why the Great Spirit put me in this state. With all it's common american faults -like every other state in the union- there is an element of personal liberty that most natives here, from the tree-murdering red-necks to the yuppie environmentalists, recognize and uphold. We've been a 'blue' state for decades.This is one small victory in the midst of an escalating war, but every one of our victories is strong and solid compared to the random whims and actions of the federal government. We are making friends, while they can only make enemies.Disband the government, send 'em all home. Better yet, insist that they get a 'real' job, one that actually involves doing something for somebody besides their own small circles of filthy-rich corporate demons.Rest assured, that if our polits hadn't stood up for us in court, the federal judge would have upheld the Yakima ruling. By the way, I have a short tale;One of my sons was 'busted' almost 2 years ago by a Forest Service ranger for a miniscule (I mean less than small bowl) of herb. Because it happened on National Forest Land, it was a federal charge.The Ranger was an idiot (no surprise) and just assumed that my son was one too, so he didn't 'follow the book' and when I got the particulars of the case, I saw that there was no signed affidavit of Miranda, so I counceled my son to plead not-guilty.Since he did that, they just went away, ignored him, and there has been not one sign that they even acknowledge his existence. At this point if they did try to prosecute him for less than 1 gram of pot (which they were perfectly willing and eager to do) not only would they look like the idiots that they are, but the 'right to a speedy trial' comes into play along with the other points. We're pretty much feeling that they have dropped the case -without telling us of course- and that's one more small victory.The point that I am making, is that the more that people, especially individuals, as well as groups and lawyers, stand up for their rights and challenge the false authority of this evil regime and government, the more power we get back, and the closer we get to the end of fascist economics, and the rule of the rich, as opposed to the rule of the people.Too many people, when faced with the pain, frustration, and injustice of the system, just take the best 'deal' their lawyers can make, and give up the fight. Quite a lucrative scam for the cops and D.A.'s. Lots of money. The laws against cannabis are extremely stupid, and wrong. When you stand up in truth, that fact is exposed.So people, if you get busted, don't look at it as something to worry about, or stress over. If you know you are right, stick to your guns, and the chances are real good that you will walk away. Look at it as an opportunity to do your part, an 'active' action against oppression. Of course, if one is greedy and selfish (like growing huge crops for personal gain) you are not right, and in fact are just making it harder for the rest of us.Though it should be legal, period, I have seen enough of the greedy-grower self righteous attitudes to know that they are racking up some kharma, and because of their greed, and their attitudes, they get it in the form of
heavy fines and prison. Draconian, and humanisticly wrong, but kharmicly understandable. In fact I sometimes think that they might just deserve it.But for those of us who aren't out to make tax-free riches, stand up and fight, eventually we will win. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 07, 2007 at 07:16:53 PT
Just a Note
I guess I can post full articles from this paper now so here it is. 
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