Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2007
Source: Argus Observer (OR)
Copyright: 2007 Ontario Argus Observer
Cited: Oregon Medical Marijuana Program
Cited: The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project
Cited: Americans for Safe Access
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Federal subpoenas seeking medical records of 17 Oregon medical
marijuana patients have growers and users upset and nervous even as a
federal judge considers whether to throw the subpoenas out.

"It's crazy. It's really scary. If they can get my records, they can
get Gov. (Ted) Kulongoski's, they can get yours," said Donald DuPay,
a former Portland police officer and 2006 candidate for Multnomah
County sheriff.

DuPay says his records are among those subpoenaed.

A federal grand jury in Yakima, Wash., issued the subpoenas in April
as part of an investigation of some growers in Oregon and Washington.

The patients are not targets of the grand jury.

A Seattle spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration declined

The subpoenas were served on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program,
which issues permits to patients and their authorized growers.

A second subpoena went to The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a private
Portland clinic where doctors determine whether a patient's condition
would be eased by marijuana.

The DEA raided DuPay's Portland home in June and seized 135 marijuana
plants DuPay said he was growing for patients. DuPay, who hosts a
local cable-access program on medical marijuana, says he has not been

On Aug. 1, lawyers from the state and from the ACLU, representing the
Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, asked Chief U.S. District Judge Robert
H. Whaley in Yakima to throw the subpoenas out.

Hagerty acknowledged that the subpoenas were written too broadly. What
the grand jury wants, he said, is not "medical records" but current
addresses and phone numbers for the 17 patients.

He said the grand jury is investigating "four or five" people for
growing marijuana to sell under the medical marijuana law.

The 17 get or got medical marijuana from the people under
investigation, he said. Whaley promised to rule soon.

Oregon voters enacted the state's program in 1998, and 14,868
Oregonians hold patient cards.

An additional 7,115 have state permission to grow medical

They can't sell it but can accept donations to defray

Eleven other states have medical marijuana laws and at least two more
are considering them.

But federal law forbids the use or cultivation of marijuana. Federal
authorities have attacked California's program by raiding marijuana
dispensaries and prosecuting growers there for years.

Last month, the DEA sent letters to landlords of dispensaries in Los
Angeles warning of possible prison sentences.

But the Oregon subpoenas apparently are the first time the DEA has
come after medical records, "and of course, it is very worrisome,"
said Bruce Mirkin, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, an
advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

"People have an expectation of medical privacy, and I think they have
a right to expect medical privacy," Mirkin said.

"It's one thing to talk about people selling a product that is in
fact not legal under federal law. We may think that's stupid. But
that's in a whole different realm than obtaining peoples' medical records."

The Web site for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program promises
patients and caregivers that their medical records are legally protected.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the advocacy group Americans for Safe
Access, said the subpoenas suggest the DEA is looking beyond
prosecuting dealers.

"It sends a message to the other states and their programs that
they're vulnerable to federal interference," he said. "It doesn't
take a brick to hit you over the head to know that the federal
government is trying to undermine California's medical marijuana law,
given all the raids and threats to landlords.

"This is one step further that shows the federal government is very
serious about going after patients."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake