Medical Marijuana Clinic Takes Legal Action Over Patient Privacy Rights
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa medical marijuana clinic has filed a lawsuit against several state agencies for a state bill they believe jeopardizes their patient’s privacy.
The Tulsa Higher Care Clinic is taking action against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, the State Department of Health, the State Department of Public Safety, and the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. The lawsuit aims to put a stop to the agencies' interpretation of State Bill 1030.
"We had zero option but to file an injunction to make sure my information doesn't get released to the state," THC2 Co-Owner Whitney Wehmeyer said.
The OMMA website said the bill requires them to share information on medical marijuana licenses with Oklahoma law enforcement, but the Tulsa Higher Care Clinic's lawsuit argues the bill was specifically referencing business licenses, not patient license information.
"You have to treat it like medicine," Wehmeyer said. "If we're treating it like medicine, then those are my medical records, and they're private, and they're protected by HIPAA, and you can't share them with anybody."
Wehmeyer said her clinic's patients are scared that their status as a medical marijuana patient could cause them to be discriminated against.
"I don't have an issue with a cop asking for my medical marijuana card after I've been pulled over and verifying I'm a patient," she said. "The fact that you get to know that before you pull me over? That doesn't seem fair."
The lawsuit argues that Oklahoma law enforcement is not entitled to patient information without a lawful court order.
A joint statement from OMMA states:
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) are aware of potential discrepancies in the language of SB1030. The agency welcomes the opportunity to receive direction from the court on this issue.
It is also important to emphasize that no patient data has been shared with any agency or the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (OLETS), and no information will be shared until the court has decided this question.
The Department of Public Safety told News On 6 they didn't have more to add to the above statement. They said they only put information on OLETS if and when they are instructed to.
Wehmeyer said if all parties can agree that no patient information will be shared, her clinic will drop the lawsuit.