Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project ~ Patients File Petition to Overturn Unconstitutional Laws ~ HB 10-1284 and SB

For immediate release, Jan. 6, 2011

Andrew B. Reid, Senior Counsel
Springer and Steinberg, P.C.
Phone: 303-861-2800

Kathleen Chippi
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
Phone: 1-888-328-4367

Patients File Petition to Overturn Unconstitutional Laws

{Denver} — A original jurisdiction petition was filed with the Colorado
Supreme Court on Wed. (1/5) asking the court to overturn large parts of
laws passed by the Colorado legislature last year (HB 10-1284 and SB
10-109) because they restrict medical marijuana patient access to medicine
and violate patient privacy rights guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution.

Click here to read the petition:

The petition was filed by Andrew B. Reid, senior counsel for Springer and
Steinberg, P.C., a Denver law firm, on behalf of Kathleen Chippi, a
Nederland caregiver and dispensary owner, and the Patient and Caregivers
Rights Litigation project, an association of patients, caregivers and
physicians that have been harmed by the passage of these laws.

Chippi says, “This petition was necessary to stop the state’s blatant
attack on fundamental constitutional patient and caregiver rights.
Coloradans need immediate clarification on rights they enjoyed from 2000
through 2009 and why some of those rights were extinguished by the state
legislature in 2010. Medical marijuana patients are sick of being treated
like second-class citizens. Cannabis in Colorado is a Constitutional right,
just like the right to free speech, and the state has no authority to
destroy those rights. I hope that the Supreme Court takes this case out of
compassion for the patients, because we have found none in the state
legislature, the Health Department or the Department of Revenue.”

Damien LaGoy has been Colorado’s most outspoken patient for years. Damien
is concerned about the state’s new database system that will replace the
formerly confidential registry information with a massive database and
surveillance system and open to law enforcement and other government

Damien has been living with HIV/AIDS since 1985 and uses cannabis to treat
a variety of symptoms. “We went through this 20 years ago with HIV/AIDS
patients when the government decided to create a national AIDS database.
People were afraid to come out and get tested because they feared their
information would be made public. A lot of my friends died because they
were afraid to get treatment because they didn’t want to get on the list.
The same thing is happening now with medical marijuana. I don’t want to see
patients die because their confidentiality is no longer protected and they
are afraid to get their medicine.”

The Supreme Court has the power of original jurisdiction to hear this case
and declare these laws unconstitutional on their face. This is different
from its appellate jurisdiction when the Supreme Court reviews a lower
court’s decision. Relief under the original jurisdiction rule is
discretionary. Although the Supreme Court can decline to take this case,
the plaintiffs are calling on the court to take action in this urgent
manner and have compassion for the thousands of patients negatively
affected by these laws statewide who need access to their medicine restored

Attorney Reid’s petition asks the Supreme Court to rule on two questions:
1) Do HB 10-1284 and SB 10-109 violate patients’ rights to their medication
as secured by the Colorado Constitution?
2) Do the information disclosure provisions of HB 10-1284 violate patients’
Constitutional rights to privacy?

Attorney Reid also asks the court to overturn the “local option” provision
of HB 10-1284 that allows cities and counties to ban medical marijuana
distribution. Reid argues that there is neither a rational basis for this
provision nor is there a compelling state interest. Reid writes:

“There is no ‘rationality’ in allowing municipalities and counties to
regulate to death and ban access of patients to doctor recommended,
constitutionally sanctioned, medical marijuana medication while not giving
these same local governments authority to similarly regulate and ban far
more potent and dangerous, if abused, substances such as pharmaceutical
narcotics and alcohol.”

The petition asks the Court to rule that it is unconstitutional to give the
Department of Revenue or local governments the authority to regulate
medical marijuana in any way.

Attorney Reid writes, “Nowhere in Constitution is there the slightest
reference to participation by the State Department of Revenue in the
regulation or administration of the medical marijuana program.”
“The medical marijuana program was clearly designed in the Constitution as
primarily a program for the provision of healthcare, not revenue.”

The petition also attacks HB 10-1284’s restrictions on caregivers, such as
their ability to serve more than 5 patients and to make a profit off their

Reid writes, “The existence and ready and widespread availability of
primary care givers to patients is an integral part of the scheme set out
in the Colorado Constitution” for providing medicine to patients.

Reid writes that “virtually all attendants, home-visit nurses, therapists,
hospice employees, and other providers of medical services to persons with
debilitating conditions” serve more than 5 patients.

Reid concludes, “The restrictions undercut the scheme of the Colorado
Constitution and the ready access of patients to their medication in a de
facto denial of their constitutional rights under the Constitution.”

The petition also asks the court to rule restrictions on physicians in SB
10-109 are unconstitutional. SB 10-109 attempted to redefine the definition
of a physician “in good standing” to restrict physicians who could
recommend medical marijuana. Reid writes, “This severely restrictive
legislative redefining of the constitutional phrase ‘in good standing’ has
the result of disqualifying hundreds of physicians for reasons having
nothing to do with the physician’s competency to recommend medical

“Placing such irrational restrictions on available physicians deprives
qualified patients of access to their medication in contravention of the
express language of the Colorado Constitution.”

Reid concludes, “The General Assembly was without any authority to
legislatively rewrite provisions in the Colorado Constitution.”

The petition asks the court to rule that the confidentiality and privacy
provisions of the Constitution will be violated by HB 10-1284’s requirement
that Medical Marijuana Centers collect patient information and share it
with law enforcement.

Reid writes that this will “expose the confidential information of the
hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients and care-givers in
blatant violation of the Colorado Constitution.”

Reid continues “Only last week, a large number of confidential ‘medical
marijuana registry forms with all these people’s personal information on
each one of those sheets’ was found by happenstance by a passerby in a box
by an alleyway trash bin behind a medical marijuana dispensary. H.B.
10-1284 required the dispensary to collect this information from patients
and their care-givers.”

Reid writes, “There is an additional confidentiality concern in regards to
medical marijuana because its possession and cultivation and acquisition
may still be illegal under federal law although legal under state law.” He
continues, “Patients who are ‘outed’ as users of medical marijuana,
although legal and constitutional, risk losing their freedom, health
insurance coverage, government benefits, college tuition loans and grants,
employment, children, and other such harms.”

Reid asks the court to take swift action. “The constitutionally secured
privacy of over 100,000 qualified medical marijuana patients and Colorado
residents and citizens stands to be irreparably invaded unless there is
immediate action by the Court.”

The petition concludes:
“Amendment 20 was not only approved by the citizens of Colorado but made
part of the highest law of our State, its Constitution. The right of
qualified medical marijuana patients to their medication to ease their
suffering is now enshrined in our Constitution. Certain legislators, even
a majority of them, or a majority of voters in some communities, may want
to second guess medical experts and the People of their State and disagree
with the limited and highly controlled use of marijuana as a physician
recommended medication by fellow citizens and residents diagnosed with
debilitating medication conditions. But, that does not give these
‘representatives’ nor the majorities of limited geographical areas of the
State the right to veto the will of the People or deny the fundamental
constitutional rights of others, anymore than the majority can silence free
speech, or take one’s liberty or property or life or health without due
process of law.”

“It is the duty of this Court to interpret and enforce and protect those
rights. The will of the clear majority of the People of Colorado and the
health and quality of life of hundreds of thousands of citizens and
residents of this State suffering from debilitating and life-threatening
conditions lie with this Court.”


Click here to read the full petition:

This is a press release of the:
Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project
P.O. Box 1794
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: 1-888-328-4367

Redistributed as a Public Service by the:
Cannabis Therapy Institute
P.O. Box 19084
Boulder, CO 80308
Phone: 877-420-4205

(graphics and layout by wayward bill) 

About waywardbill

Chairman, United States Marijuana Party
This entry was posted in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project ~ Patients File Petition to Overturn Unconstitutional Laws ~ HB 10-1284 and SB

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