Feds Seek MMJ Patient Info from Northeastern States; Massachusetts Complies

Officials in Massachusetts have complied with a medical cannabis patient data request from the White House National Marijuana Initiative, but Gov. Charlie Baker indicated that none of the submitted information can be used to identify patients, CBS Boston reports. The information included the gender, age, and date of cannabis prescription for the state’s 40,000-plus registered patients but not specific medical conditions – which was requested by the federal task force.
The National Marijuana Initiative is a project contained in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program created by Congress in 1988. According to the report, other states were also sent requests for medical cannabis patient data. The NMI reports directly to the White House and not the Justice Department or Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Baker said officials would not do “anything that is going to violate anybody’s privacy.”
Dan Quigley, deputy coordinator for the NMI, told the Boston Globe the request was part of a project researching whether there was a link between how states regulate medical cannabis and cannabis use among different age groups within the general public.
“There are no black helicopters warming up in the bullpen,” Quigley, a former Colorado police officer and cannabis legalization opponent said in the report. “I have no idea where this is going to take us yet.”
According to the Globe report, other states asked for medical cannabis patient information by the NMI include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont.
Update 8/28/17: In an email to Ganjapreneur, it was confirmed by Marijuana Program Administrator Lindsey Wells that the Vermont Marijuana Registry also received and complied with the NMI request.
The provided information included the approximate number of medical cannabis applications Vermont has received each year, which has risen from just 566 in 2012 to a whopping 4,310 in 2016. The information also covered the average age of cannabis patients in Vermont, which has risen from approximately 50 in 2013 to 53 years old in 2016, as well as the most popular conditions cited for medical cannabis access — of which, unsurprisingly, chronic pain (1,205 cases) tops the list with cancer (167), Multiple Sclerosis (77), and nausea (46) trailing far behind.
However, Vermont does not track the gender of its medical cannabis patients.

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