Cannabis registration by the state
Written by Michael Wilson, November 16, 2015
Two legislative sessions ago I learned that someone had inadvertently released the numbers of some confidential license plates to a private citizen. Fortunately the citizen who received those numbers did not make them public.
The state cannot guarantee that it can protect the confidentiality of a list of registered cannabis medical patients under any conditions. If the new federal administration which gets elected in November of 2016 decides that it intends to crack down on cannabis and reverse the work toward legalization from what we have seen in recent years, the likelihood of names being released to law enforcement will increase.
In the present circumstances registering cannabis patients will violate the rules against self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment protects patients from having to provide information about their personal activities. Because the federal government still classifies cannabis as a schedule I substance a person’s name on the registry could be used as evidence against the patient in a court of law.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives having a state issued medical marijuana card places the patient in violation of Gun Control Act of 1968. Federal law makes no exemption for medical patients who use marijuana. In this case the registration itself may result in the patient losing his or her second amendment rights. If the patient has to go to court over their cannabis use and is found guilty a gun charge could be used to lengthen their sentence.
The Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which reads “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people” protects my right to choose what medical treatment I wish to use and the idea of providing the state with that information by way of registration is an act that may discourage people from using treatments that are not approved by the government.
However let’s go back to the beginning of the prohibition of marijuana which we prefer to call cannabis these days. In the 1930s the prohibition was placed on the plant not because any scientific information had come to light informing us as to how dangerous it was. Instead the prohibitions were built around rumors, lies, innuendo and old fashioned gossip. How can the people of any nation trust the law when the law is based on such poor information?
Laws based on rumors, gossip and innuendo are not much different than a witness testifying against someone in a court of law and committing perjury in the process. A lie in the courtroom may get one person falsely convicted but lies during a legislative committee hearing to support a bill may get hundreds convicted for activities that should never have been illegal in the first place. One lie in court can land a witness in prison but one lie during a legislative hearing might get a witness who supports the legislation a promotion.
Finally Washington State’s Constitution requires the state to protect individual rights. Many people believe the state constitution protects an individual’s right to use the medicine of their choice. If people are to be deprived of that right then the state has to allow for due process as described in the Washington State Constitution which reads,”Article I… All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are estab-lished to protect and maintain individual rights”. And “SECTION 3 PERSONAL RIGHTS. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”.