Health Canada outs 40,000 medical marijuana users

Due to an "administrative error," Health Canada sent letters to 40,000 medical marijuana users whose return address was "Medical Marijuana Access Program." In so doing, they outed tens of thousands of Canadians as medical marijuana users to their postal delivery people, people with whom they share their mailboxes, and others.

The letter, which Health Canada says was sent to 40,000 people, comes in a white envelope, and has a return address with the words “Medical Marijuana Access Program” written across the top, followed by the patient’s name and address. Many people say their privacy has been violated and fear their houses may be robbed and their home growing gardens targeted.

“I’m outright panicked,” said Multiple Sclerosis patient Suzi Berardini, who also suffers from trigeminal neuralgia. She said the mailman who dropped the letter off “smirked” when he handed her the envelope. “It’s terrifying. So many levels of terrifying.”

Medical marijuana patients outed by Health Canada (Thanks, Sean!)

Notable Replies

  1. Yeah, and you know those magazines delivered in discrete plain manila envelopes you read just for the articles? The mail carrier knows which ones come from which return address even without the company name. Delivering mail is what they do day in and day out. They know way more about you than you would imagine. But they have thousands of customers and for the most part don't care one way or the other about your personal quirks.

  2. ““I’m outright panicked, It’s terrifying. So many levels of terrifying.”

    While I think it's terrible she is feeling this way, the issue seems a bit overstated. MMJ is not the socially ostracizing demon weed it once was, nor were these folks "outed" to anyone but their mailman and those who share their mailboxes - in other words, people who quite likely knew already and already have a relationship of at least some trust.

    A fitting "punishment" for Health Canada might be to contribute a tidy sum of money to public education on medical maryjane.

  3. No, it's not legal at all. I gather that's the whole point - that the few thousand people who have a legal supply might now be the targets of burglaries or home invasions to acquire what's quite a lucrative good thanks to prohibition.

    If it was legal, it would be no riskier than a copy of cigar afficionado magazine revealing that you probably have some good cigars in the house.

  4. Ignoring the arguable specific stigma of MMJ, isn't this a general violation of medical privacy? You can be pretty sure the recipients of this letter have one of a limited number of acute medical problems, which is something they might not feel comfortable being advertised.

  5. Or perhaps:

    D'oh! Canada

Continue the discussion

38 more replies