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Hearing Delayed On Medical-Marijuana Case

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GRAND RAPIDS – The Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs today filed an emergency motion to halt the federal government's efforts to gain access to confidential medical-marijuana records compiled by the state.


The action postpones Wednesday's hearing in U.S. District Court in which the federal government planned to ask a judge for access to records as part of an investigation of seven people in the Lansing area.


The state Department of Community Health said it would release the information, originally requested in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration subpoena, only if ordered to do so by a judge. Those who release such information are subject to civil and criminal penalties.


Traverse City attorney Jesse Williams filed the emergency motion to intervene as a respondent, and to stay proceedings, on behalf of the compassion clubs and “John/Jane Does 1 through 42.”


“It is highly likely that the DEA's subpoena will unwarrantedly reach not only into the confidential physician-patient records of the seven targets of the DEA's investigation, but also into 35 other physician-patient confidential records that have nothing to do with the DEA's case. DEA's subpoena also asks DCH to 'give testimony' about the records of the 42 potential medical (marijuana) patients at issue in this case.”


He said that those who registered as medical-marijuana patients or providers gave information to the state “because of the confidentiality guarantees” in the law that won overwhelming support by voters in 2008.


The government said it is seeking only records linked to the investigation.

Williams said that state Attorney General Bill Schuette should have defended the state law's confidentiality provisions.


“However, because of the AG's publicly stated adverse opinions, and his personal biases, he did not do so here.”

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