A Montana medical marijuana caregiver says the state’s medical cannabis law violates federal health care privacy regulations because it forces people registered in the program to get permission from their landlord to grow cannabis if they rent their home, according to a report by the Great Falls Tribune.
Kenneth “Skip” Kildore says forcing patients and caregivers to reveal some of their medical information to a third party violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 (HIPPA) and that landlords are under no obligation to keep that information private.
“Further, because of the wildly politicized climate around this issue, a lot of people, landlords included, are strongly prejudiced against medical marijuana,” he said in the report.
State officials argue that because medical marijuana is not recognized as medicine by the federal government it does not fall under the privacy protections of HIPPA.
Kildore’s concerns come as new restrictions take hold on the state’s medical marijuana program, which has left 93 percent of the 12,730 registered patients without a provider. Under the new rules, individuals classified “with no provider” are considered their own provider, which allows them to grow their own cannabis. However, if a patient rents the home that would serve as the grow site they would need to get written permission from their landlord prior to starting any cultivation.
Kildore, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, disagrees that cannabis should not be considered medicine and that patients have the right to keep their medical information private.
“Something that helps is a medicine,” he said. “It’s made a world of difference, not a perfect medicine. When I use it I cannot go out and drive. But it really has helped. I’ve become a lot mellower.”
In November, Montanans will vote on rolling back the changes to the medical marijuana program enacted by the legislature, which took effect on Aug. 31.
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