The Vermont Marijuana Registry has complied with a request by the federal National Marijuana Institute for medical cannabis patient information, one of two confirmed states that complied with the request; Massachusetts is the other.
According to a Boston Globe report, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were all targeted by the NMI; a division of the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative which reports to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy rather than the Department of Justice. Regulators in Rhode Island and Connecticut did not respond to request about whether they complied with the federal agency’s query.
According to the Globe report, Massachusetts regulators declined to provide patient medical condition information because it could be used to identify patients.
Lindsey Wells, administrator for the Vermont Marijuana Registry, indicated the agency provided the NMI with the total number of applications received each year from 2012 to 2016, some 11,107 in all; the average age of registered patients – reported as 50-years-old in August, 2013, 52-years-old in December, 2014 and August 2015, and 53-years-old in November of last year.
The state tracks neither the gender of the state’s registered patients nor the total number of applications approved each year. According to data from the VMR, Vermont has registered 4,438 medical cannabis patients as of June 28.
Unlike Massachusetts regulators, Vermont officials included medical condition information in their release; however the information supplied to the NMI was not current, dated December, 2014. The federal agency had requested “information as it relates to marijuana registry cards issued for the last [five] calendar years.” Wells said the material sent to the NMI “was sufficient and did not require additional information.”
Dan Quigley, a former Colorado police officer and deputy coordinator of the NMI, told the Globe that the request was part of a project by the agency seeking to determine if there is any correlation between whether cannabis use rates among different age groups vary depending on how strict their home state’s medical cannabis program is.
“There are no black helicopters warming up in the bullpen,” Quigley said in the Globe report. “I have no idea where this is going to take us yet.”