Seattle Police Seize Marijuana Patient Files

Seattle Police Seize Marijuana Patient Files
Posted by CN Staff on July 16, 2008 at 18:03:10 PT
By Gene Johnson, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle, WA -- Seattle police seized files on nearly 600 medical marijuana patients when officers searched the headquarters of a patient support group, activists said Wednesday.The search occurred Tuesday after a nearby police bicycle officer reported the smell of marijuana. Martin Martinez, who runs the Lifevine cooperative as well as Cascadia NORML, the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said no one was arrested but officers seized about 12 ounces of marijuana in addition to the patient files and a computer.
There were no marijuana plants growing there, Martinez said. He is a longtime advocate of legalizing the medical use of marijuana, following a severe motorcycle crash that left him with nerve damage in 1986. Three other patients authorized to use pot under Washington's medical marijuana law were also present when officers arrived at the office, which does not dispense marijuana, he said.Cascadia NORML has been issuing identity cards to medical marijuana patients, but before doing so, it requires the patients to provide their medical authorizations for verification. That's why the patient files were in the office, Martinez said. The cards are not issued pursuant to the state's medical marijuana law, but are designed to help identify the patient as legitimate if confronted by police.Some of the nearly 600 patients are now dead, and some others are no longer actively using marijuana, he said.The police "have a heck of a lot of patient records I don't think they should have," said Douglas Hiatt, a Seattle attorney who specializes in medical marijuana cases. "For one thing, those records are protected under federal privacy laws. If you're a medical marijuana patient, you don't want the police to know who you are or where you live, and this is why - because you don't get treated very well."Hiatt and Martinez said that before the search they tried to convince the officers as well as a deputy King County prosecutor there were no violations of the medical marijuana law.The police department did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County prosecutor's Office, confirmed that officers consulted a deputy prosecutor before searching the office Tuesday, but he said police have not referred the case to his office.Under Washington's medical marijuana law, doctors can authorize patients to have as much as a 60-day supply of marijuana to treat symptoms of AIDS, cancer and other debilitating or chronic conditions. The law doesn't define what a 60-day supply is, but the state Health Department proposed this month that it be defined as 24 ounces of usable pot, along with six mature plants and 18 immature plants. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.According to Hiatt, the seized documents included patient authorizations, full medical histories, and the names of doctors who authorized the marijuana use.Alison Chinn Holcomb, who follows marijuana issues for the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said there doesn't appear to be any evidence that the group was providing or growing marijuana, and no information that has been revealed thus far would seem to justify seizing the patient files."These are very sick people with very serious conditions, and we're sure none of them want the nature of those conditions made available to the public or to anyone who doesn't have a valid need for it," she said.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Gene Johnson, AP Legal Affairs WriterPublished:  Wednesday, July 16, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on July 23, 2008 at 06:37:08 PT
Related Article From The Seattle Times
The New Reefer Madness: Arresting People in PainJuly 23, 2008
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on July 21, 2008 at 05:31:28 PT
Seattle Times Editorial: Return The Pot
July 21, 2008
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 11:46:56 PT
It would be nice if she could still be with them. There are some great Janis impersonators/admirers out there that revive her memory nicely.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on July 18, 2008 at 10:15:10 PT
I hope you have a great time. I sure wouldn't miss the chance to see them. Three of my favorite female musicians were Janis Joplin, Carole King and Carly Simon. You're So Vain: Carly Simon
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Comment #17 posted by fight_4_freedom on July 18, 2008 at 08:54:56 PT:
Big Brother and the Holding Company will 
be playing about 20 blocks from my house tonight. I just found out about this a couple days ago. And thankfully I have today off. Now I must find someone to go with :) I'm just just really happy that I'll be able to see them. It's always nice to get a chance to see older bands while you can because you don't know how long they will still be around for.Any fans here?
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Comment #16 posted by dongenero on July 18, 2008 at 08:37:49 PT
Prosecutors said no charges will be filed.
Well that's an interesting statemnt and quite an assumption at that. I would certainly expect charges may be filed,--against the police.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 08:16:51 PT
Uh oh!
The anti-drug perverts fooled around and messed with someone who could afford to sue them.US: Federal Court Says Strip Search of Teen Was Wrong was done to this child over a report that she had ibuprofen.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on July 18, 2008 at 07:14:21 PT
I'm ok. I am doing a lot of soul searching. Last night Neil Young's Interview was so inspiring.
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 07:07:48 PT
comment 9 Probable Cause
"While smell alone may be reason for a vehicle search, the court determined, it doesn't warrant handcuffing passengers without other supporting evidence."That means a lot to me and I'm grateful for it. I hate all the binding people's hands our government feels they should do for their own protection.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 07:00:49 PT
has great healing powers that are so underused.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 06:59:55 PT
Massage stimulation and kneading
is so good for you. There's a little smile embedded in this article. NK: Column: Nominate Emery for Order of Canada?
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Comment #10 posted by BGreen on July 18, 2008 at 06:56:17 PT
Are you doing OK, FoM?
You've only posted twice in two days. I hope you're feeling OK.I understand if you just avoided the discussions.BTW, I had my first therapeutic massage on Tuesday and it was AWESOME! 45 years of negative energy and stress left my body, at least for a short time. The more times you get one, the less you need them. Mrs. Green does better for longer intervals since she's had about six.Of course, we could take all kinds of pharmaceutical pills and potions to mask the pain we have, but it's much safer and more intelligent to allow our bodies to heal themselves.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on July 18, 2008 at 06:41:06 PT
Seattle Police 
need to return the cannabis they took as well as fix the damage they did to the office. It's only right.Good article here about a court decision restraining the wild abandon with the power to arrest citizens that some "nosy" cops in their olfactory dependent bullying go nuts with. WA: State Supreme Court Narrows Probable-Cause Grounds
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 18, 2008 at 06:25:11 PT
Related Article From The Seattle Times
Cops Return Medical-Marijuana Files Taken in Raid  but Not The PotJuly 18, 2008
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 17, 2008 at 19:16:00 PT
Seattle Police Agree To Return Medical Pot Records
July 17, 2008
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on July 17, 2008 at 17:59:25 PT
thugs above the law
from the editorial:"But these were our local cops, the same ones whose services are spread thin because of the city's struggle with recruiting officers."Interesting, the ole' gulag & war machine is not as attractive as it used to be, eh? Beating on paralyzed people just doesn't have the cache it once had in Washington I guess.How sad that the federal governments of every country on Earth except 3 or 4 deny cannabis to those who are suffering from pain.  Were the Nazis defeated, or have we become the Nazis?
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on July 17, 2008 at 17:44:03 PT
"didn"t leo smell"
"Sniffin" out crime."Crime" in this case would be smoking or otherwise consuming a usually dried plant, an herb.They've really got the nose for real crime. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 17, 2008 at 17:22:57 PT
Editorial From The Seattle Post Intelligencer
Medical Marijuana: Supposedly LegalJuly 17, 2008
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Comment #3 posted by ripit on July 17, 2008 at 06:36:57 PT:
didn"t leo smell
cannabis in the brownies of the kid doin his community service last week? seems to me they rely on their noses a lttle too much!and did they search the whole building? he claimed he smelled it thrugh out the 3 story building but they only served a warrant on the one office?you can't tell me they wern't targeting them!
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on July 16, 2008 at 21:34:10 PT
According to the article
in Comment 1... it looks like our problem has moved from a problem with a moral disagreement to a problem with an odor disagreement. More, but different, ignorance.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 16, 2008 at 20:58:18 PT
Related Article From The Seattle Times
Seattle Medical Marijuana Operation Protests Police RaidWednesday, July 16, 2008
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