Colorado is getting its feet wet with medical marijuana, creating some new twists on how drug laws are enforced.
This week in my hometown, authorities were called to an office building near the Census offices where someone observed an unusual smell. More than a thousand marijuana plants were found under grow lights.
But with cultivation being legal based upon the number of patients being supplied by a dispensary, the cops couldn't just confiscate the weed.
They did, however, check to see whether the large number of plants was justified.
Here's where it starts to get sticky.
A search warrant executed Tuesday authorized the seizure of photocopies of patients’ marijuana registry cards, as well as doctors’ recommendations and personal contact information for patients [...]
The judge who signed the warrant did what he had to, I guess, if there was suspicion that the legal growing operation was producing extra weed on the side. But in order to confirm the proportions being grown were legitimate, patient records were opened up to scrutiny.
This is the sort of thing that makes some people afraid of government getting deeper into the health care business, of course, so even if the grower (Sid Squirrel!) is totally on the up and up, this sort of investigation could have repercussions beyond the drug business.
[Disclosure: My brother is a local police commander and the judge is a former classmate. I have not discussed the case with either of them.]