A recently released report of database users shows that Arizona’s list of medical marijuana patients is being accessed by law enforcement officers as well as employers.
The user registry was established under Arizona’s 2010 medical marijuana act so that police wouldn’t accidentally arrest a patient on a marijuana offense. However, it now seems as though the list is being used by a large number of agencies for multiple purposes.
According to the report, as of last week over 2,500 accounts had been created to access the list to check on the validity of patients’ medical marijuana cards. Accounts have been set up by law enforcement officials, sheriff’s offices, the DEA, Border Patrol, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
While police can access the list, they cannot specifically search for an individual by name or address. Instead, they can only access individuals by inputting their registration card ID numbers.
Additionally, employers are using the database in conjunction with drug screening measures. If an applicant or employee fails a drug test, some companies are then checking the registry to see if they are actually a medical marijuana user, potentially saving them their job. Companies with accounts include PetSmart, Go Daddy, Swift Transportation, and Arizona Game and Fish.
Since patients cannot be directly searched for without their card ID number, it seems as though there is little room for abuse within the system. However, some users are concerned that the registry could be hacked and information could be used against them by police or employers.
As Arizona’s medical marijuana program grows and collectives get the go-ahead to open within the next 3 to 6 months, it is expected that more accounts will be created to access to list of registered patients.
Not all medical marijuana states require patients to officially register with the state. California, for example, does not require patients to register with the state, though they may choose to do so. Many patients fear that their information could be targeted by the DEA or federal officials and used against them.