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Pot Grower's Privacy Challenged 477

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-me-the-stash dept.
damaged_sectors writes "A map marking what are supposed to be secret locations of 60 warehouses and other buildings where medical marijuana is grown in Boulder has accidentally been made public by the city. Officials say an 'oversight' led them to publish the map on the city's Web site. Kathy Haddock, Boulder's senior assistant city attorney who advises the council on medical marijuana issues, said Thursday that the map would be removed from the city's Web site. No conspiracy here folks. In other news the council will decide at its Jan. 18 meeting whether Boulder should circumvent the open records act exemption for cultivation centers by requiring applicants for medical marijuana business licenses to waive their right to privacy. The council could force all growing centers to sign such a waiver as a condition of receiving a city-issued business license. While the risk this would make it easier for Federal authorities to raid grow-ops might not concern council members and others opposed to medical marijuana — I have to wonder what sort of mentality thinks exposing growers to the very real risk of armed robbery by criminals is justifiable."
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Pot Grower's Privacy Challenged

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  • by lseltzer (311306) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @04:55PM (#34817048)
    Governments should't be keeping secrets
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:09PM (#34817200)

      Nor should their citizens need a license to grow a plant.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:24PM (#34817322)

        srsly, mods - a 0? a plant is a plant.

        the government should be protecting citizens rights, not eliminating them.

        regardless of the speculation about negative longterm effects (which are not founded in scientific research), the plant can grow almost fucking anywhere. someone can toss a seed in your yard and it will grow. would you want to be arrested for that?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Nor should their citizens need a license to grow a plant.

        They absolutely should if it's prescription medicine.

        If pot were legalized then I would agree with you, but medicinal marijuana != legalized marijuana.

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:01PM (#34817584)

          Nor should their citizens need a license to grow a plant.

          They absolutely should if it's prescription medicine.

          I think you need a prescription for some high-grade woooosh!

        • by fishexe (168879) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:40PM (#34817854) Homepage

          Nor should their citizens need a license to grow a plant.

          They absolutely should if it's prescription medicine.

          Growing a plant that can be used to produce prescription medicine doesn't require a license.

          If pot were legalized then I would agree with you, but medicinal marijuana != legalized marijuana.

          It's not, but it's technically not a prescription drug either. It's still against federal law and federal law provides for prosecution of medicinal marijuana as well as recreational marijuana. Given that, your argument basically boils down to "It absolutely should be illegal because it is illegal. If it were legal I would agree with you that it should be legal."

          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:59PM (#34818788)

            Given that, your argument basically boils down to "It absolutely should be illegal because it is illegal. If it were legal I would agree with you that it should be legal."

            I've come to understand that for a, surprisingly large, portion of the population, that is exactly the way they think. It's like they have no concept that it is the duty of the citizenry to judge the law.

            • I've come to understand that for a, surprisingly large, portion of the population, that is exactly the way they think. It's like they have no concept that it is the duty of the citizenry to judge the law.

              Yup. Realizing this was the epiphany that changed my view on pretty much all political systems.

              Following further analysis it became obvious that the condition is endemic and genetic. That is in a species bread for operation in small hunter-gatherer communes (whole recorded history is but a blink in evolut

          • Growing a plant that can be used to produce prescription medicine doesn't require a license.

            There are a crapload of chemicals found in plants, and THC is hardly the worst of them. I never could figure out why people can't separate the two. We wouldn't call yew trees or amyapples chemotherapy drugs, we'd call them plants, yet taxol and podophyllotoxin are chemo drugs. We know ricin and solanine are poisons, but castor beans and tomatoes are plants. No one would call white willow or foxglove medicines, yet that is what salicin and digitoxin are used for. No one thinks walnut trees are herbicide

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        You need a license to sell food. The reason isto know who is doing it so they can be inspected to ensure that they are not breaking laws such as using illegal herbicides. The license is not to grow the plant; it is to sell the plant to the public (even through a middleman).

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "Nor should their citizens need a license to grow a plant."

        You do realize every major illegal narcotic comes from "a plant", right? Cocaine is from coca leaf [wikipedia.org], heroin is from opium. [wikipedia.org]

        Are you suggesting that all of these drugs be made legally available to anyone that wants them without even as much as a license?
        • by elewton (1743958)

          I certainly believe that people should be able to grow and consume coca and poppies, so long as they harm no other.

          If they choose to refine that to a potentially dangerous substance and sell it, I agree that society needs to get involved. Similarly, I believe that you are within your rights to grow castor beans or curare, but should you use them harmfully or negligently, problems will arise.

        • You do realize every major illegal narcotic comes from "a plant", right? Cocaine is from coca leaf, heroin is from opium.

          Despite the idiotic labels given to it by American laws, cocaine is not a narcotic. Narcotics refer to a specific class of drugs, which does not and has never included cocaine.

          Are you suggesting that all of these drugs be made legally available to anyone that wants them without even as much as a license?

          GP might not have been, but I certainly am. What finally did it for me when it came to cocaine and opium legalization was when I took a moment to review the reasons why these drugs were made illegal in the first place. Cocaine was made illegal when southern cops started saying that black men who used cocaine became more accurat

    • by Gerzel (240421)

      No there are some secrets that a government needs to keep.

      There needs to be a way to control what secrets are kept and for how long.

      The US needs new laws and I think Judicial oversight of what state information is deemed secret and how long it could be held.

      Basically I think stuff needs to be run by a judge in order to be kept as a secret for more than a year.

      Also note there is a difference between secret and confidential.

    • What's your point? Do you think we don't deserve to know how the people that represent us do represent us?

      As the article shows, we don't need wikileaks to breach the privacy of defenseless individuals, the government, already does so with impunity. But your point of view seems to be that if we want the government to respect the privacy of what people do in their homes we should in exchange forgo any semblance of accountability and government transparency?

      You may claim to just be joking, but you are simply t

    • This is more toward Cryptome.org territory as its was accidentally posted as part of a memo then publicly stated for withdrawal by the city government for secrecy reasons.

      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0VB_QrXYauUJ:www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D12380%26Itemid%3D22+http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D12380%26Itemid%3D22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

      The map wa

  • by scribblej (195445) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @04:57PM (#34817054)

    But let's compare to some other businesses. Banks, for instance, are businesses that are often targeted by criminals. They - OH MY GOD - list their addresses publically! I feel the bank's right to privacy has been violated here. Not only that, but how can the banks survive now that the criminals know where they are?! OMG!

    Seriously, people. If you legalize the growing of marijuana, it's just like any other product now. You want to run a respectable business, then do it. If you are concerned about security, do what any other company concerned about security would do, put down the pipe, and GET SOME SECURITY.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:04PM (#34817142)
      Oh you.... Bringing all that common sense and logic to slashdot. Have you yourself been smoking some of this medicine perhaps?

      *sips coffee*
    • by areusche (1297613)

      Agreed. You don't see wine and liquor stores or even distilleries freaking out about the same thing.

      I know exactly where they are. Do you know how they keep theft down? By having closed circuit TV cameras and a silent alarm that calls the police.

      If these are private businesses then they need to learn how to protect their product from outside and inside theft.

      • You don't live in an area that is ailed by break ins and murders over pot, do you? One of my friends was murdered for 20 pounds. That's about 60k.

        A pound of pot, which is about the size of a small turkey, is worth between 2-7k, depending on its quality and how it is sold on the street.

        A pound of liquor is worth about 20 bucks.

        If liquor was black market, and highly profitable as such, you would see the same break ins and murders even with increased security. I believe we called this the 'prohibition era',

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:08PM (#34817186) Journal
      I'm fairly sure that banks choose to advertise their places of business, rather than having them helpfully outed by the local government...

      Further, while retail establishments, banking and otherwise, are made as public as possible for obvious reasons, it is quite common for actors in a wide variety of legitimate industries to be somewhat cagey about the locations and precise purposes of their various "back office" facilities. Keeps security costs lower, provides less information to competitors, and so forth. Most of this stuff isn't truly "secret"(in the sense that it is nothing a PI or decent reporter couldn't dig up with a bit of work); but there are tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of industrial parks and office complexes around the country, often gated and typically deliberately understated, quietly doing assorted stuff, under the (small) placards of various corporations that may or may not be under some other umbrella entirely. In addition to static facilities, things like shipments of cash, high-value consumer or industrial goods, hazardous chemicals, and pharmaceuticals are quite commonly done quietly. Again, not secret; but the local government sure doesn't "accidentally" reveal the time and route that the next shipment of medical opiates is going to be taking into the local oncology hospice...

      Obviously, this isn't the end of the world; but conflating retail and backend operations is pretty misleading.
      • by stonewallred (1465497) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:46PM (#34817478)
        I do work for a business in my town. It has a emergency generator, a secondary generator for HVAC/R and lights, and a tertiary generator for the -30F freezer. The stuff in the walk-in cooler (36F), the walk-in freezer (0F) and the other walk-in freezer(-30) (reachable only by going through the cooler and 0F freezer) are all small boxes and insulated containers marked with bio-hazard symbols. They keep a rotating temp chart that if it varies by more than 3F in an hour period, they call me for immediate service and inspection. And when I asked them what was in the boxes, they said "stuff". When I asked abut the temp requirements, they said the "stuff" gets unstable above 40F. The company name is very generic. The staff, about 30 or so, don't wear name tags. There checks are drawn on a local bank. And when I google them, there is no information other than their phone number and address. That's the "I don't know the whole frickin story" I am interested in. Oh, and they have never questioned any of my bills, or prices. I show up, verify the equipment is functioning within parameters (Amp draw, operating pressures, etc) and give them a bill. They write me a check then and there, no matter if it is 2pm on a Monday, or 3am on Christmas Eve (yeah, called me three years ago because the temp varied by 4 degrees F at approximately 11pm.)
        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:05PM (#34817620) Journal
          I can't decide whether the outfit you describe is more likely to be on a federal watch list or a federal supplier list...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by stonewallred (1465497)
            Mostly white, 30-40 year old appearing staff. Everyone polite, and well spoken, but not talkative. No extremes, as in no ultra-short haircuts, but no pony tails and piercing either. No visible tats on anyone, and, which is strange, no secretary nor any place for a secretary. There is a front door, locked with blinds over it, a side door, a loading bay door and a enclosed ramp with the entrance door at the side of the building. And I live in a fairly Podunk town, in the south. Been doing the work there for a
      • by UttBuggly (871776)

        I'm fairly sure that banks choose to advertise their places of business, rather than having them helpfully outed by the local government...

        Further, while retail establishments, banking and otherwise, are made as public as possible for obvious reasons, it is quite common for actors in a wide variety of legitimate industries to be somewhat cagey about the locations and precise purposes of their various "back office" facilities. Keeps security costs lower, provides less information to competitors, and so forth. Most of this stuff isn't truly "secret"(in the sense that it is nothing a PI or decent reporter couldn't dig up with a bit of work); but there are tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of industrial parks and office complexes around the country, often gated and typically deliberately understated, quietly doing assorted stuff, under the (small) placards of various corporations that may or may not be under some other umbrella entirely. In addition to static facilities, things like shipments of cash, high-value consumer or industrial goods, hazardous chemicals, and pharmaceuticals are quite commonly done quietly. Again, not secret; but the local government sure doesn't "accidentally" reveal the time and route that the next shipment of medical opiates is going to be taking into the local oncology hospice...

        Obviously, this isn't the end of the world; but conflating retail and backend operations is pretty misleading.

        I quite agree.

        And yes, while I (or random miscreant) can see the Fritos or Budweiser truck at the 7-11, they're rarely hijacked or robbed. The Wells Fargo truck is heavily armored and has men with guns.

        The relative value is quite different for that which is munchies, that which causes munchies or that which buys munchies.

        If the 7-11, Fritos truck, or Wells Fargo truck are assailed, police response and serious media coverage are virtually guaranteed. I don't know that would be the case with the pot grower.

    • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:10PM (#34817212)

      Banks have security measures that are highly effective and widely used. A small-scale grow operation implementing the level of security used at the average bank would have no funds with which to do anything else.

      You have to remember, these are very small scale operations. An average bank is dealing with literally thousands of times more revenue than these operations, and doing so with a limited footprint compared to a grow operation, which makes it easier to protect with bulletproof acrylic, cameras, a security guard, and a gigantic 2-foot-thick vault with a tiny amount of floor space for holding 99% of the cash and valuables. You can't grow this stuff inside of a vault like that - otherwise you're looking at a warehouse sized, multi-billion-dollar vault, with the potential to produce maybe a million or two in income yearly.

      By the way, banks don't have their information published by the state, as you're insinuating they do. They choose to publicize it themselves (for obvious reasons). They can keep their location confidential if they wish.

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      put down the pipe, and GET SOME SECURITY.

      If marijuana was as legal as tobacco or alcohol, it wouldn't be any more likely to be stolen, which is still somewhat common but generally at a small scale. Lack of availability, combined with the absurd street price for something that is a glorified weed is the problem. A security system is obviously part of the solution, but once pot is legal for any use (and at 46, I'm betting it will happen in my lifetime) then it won't be as huge of an issue.

      And yes, of course

    • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:22PM (#34817308)

      They - OH MY GOD - list their addresses publically!

      ...not the addresses of their currency distribution facilities or data centres they don't. I live near the processing centre of a large bank. The place doesn't have a sign, front door, receptionist, anything - Just armoured cars coming and going.

    • by RCC42 (1457439)

      But let's compare to some other businesses. Banks, for instance, are businesses that are often targeted by criminals. They - OH MY GOD - list their addresses publically! I feel the bank's right to privacy has been violated here. Not only that, but how can the banks survive now that the criminals know where they are?! OMG!

      Seriously, people. If you legalize the growing of marijuana, it's just like any other product now. You want to run a respectable business, then do it. If you are concerned about security, do what any other company concerned about security would do, put down the pipe, and GET SOME SECURITY.

      It's funny that the submitter chose the words "risk of armed robbery by criminals" to describe the dangers posed to grow warehouses since, by law, Federal agents are allowed to and frequently do raid Medical Marijuana stores and warehouses in states where it's legal.

      Since the Feds usually kick the doors down, wave their guns around and take all the weed it seems to me that if you described the situation to someone and didn't mention that the aggressors had DEA written on their hats then the person you descr

    • by Jaime2 (824950)
      A few years ago, my company got seriously pissed off when the local paper advertised the location of our new warehouse containing $1B of pharmaceuticals. They thought they were simply doing a piece on economic growth, but every once in a while, some batshit crazy criminal decides to rob a drug warehouse. I work at a smaller warehouse and I know of three robberies in our (thankfully distant) past. We take security very seriously, yet we still rely on unmarked trucks and buildings to keep the crime rate do
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:01PM (#34817114) Homepage

    I support medical cannabis -- indeed, I support the end of all drug prohibition laws. But how is there a "right to privacy" any more than for any other pharmacetuical? Every pharmacy has stuff with more street value than weed, yet the locations of licensed pharmacies are public records, aren't they?

    • The locations of pharmaceutical manufacturers usually aren't public, though. Also, pharmacies choose to advertise themselves; the state never gives out a listing of all pharmacies inside of the state.
  • "Medical marijuana" is just a scam. 60 "grow facilities" in Boulder, Colorado? Four times as many "dispensaries" in San Jose as 7-11s? [nytimes.com].

    If it's to be treated as a medical treatment, it should be moved to Schedule II or III, prescribed by doctors, and distributed through pharmacies. Some people need to be on full-time pain relievers, but not that many. And in real treatment, you try to get people off medication.

    • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:10PM (#34817208) Journal

      An even bigger scam is the pretext they use to prop up prohibition.

      Count deMonet

      • by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:36PM (#34817390)

        How is the parent post flamebait? It's true. The only reason we have prohibition is because it helps certain people (like DEA and their goons) remain in power and profit. Under our current laws, dangerous radicals like George Washington [google.com], Thomas Jefferson [google.com], and John Adams [google.com] would be thrown in a federal prison. The whole medical marijuana thing might have whatever problems, but much worse than anything associated with it is the fact that lives are being ruined because a someone scumbag likes sucking up taxpayers dollars to screw over honest law abiding citizens.

        • It's flamebait because it makes a potentially controversial or inflammatory statement without any supporting facts or commentary. It's like saying, "An even bigger scam is the pretext Apple uses to promote 'openness.'" You may or may not agree with Apple's policies, but without any supporting verbiage, it's just a useless jab at iTards. Pure flamebait.
        • by Kaenneth (82978)

          It's flamebait in the way that saying Space 1999 was a muich better show than Star Trek, it's obviously true, but not relevant to the topic at hand.

    • Maybe you're right. But partial legalization through "scam" laws is still better then no legalization at all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath (413667)

      "Medical marijuana" is just a scam.

      I think of scams as cheating someone. The growers, distributors, and consumers are consenting adults happily do business with each other. The only scam I see is big, intrusive government types propping up a failed policy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cold fjord (826450)

        I think of scams as cheating someone. The growers, distributors, and consumers are consenting adults happily do business with each other. The only scam I see is big, intrusive government types propping up a failed policy.

        On the contrary, the growers and distributors are cheating the consumers. They allow them to believe that it is a harmless product, when that isn't really true [businessweek.com].

    • And in real treatment, you try to get people off medication.

      You haven't been involved in medicine in the last two decades or so, have you?

    • by fishexe (168879) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:48PM (#34817916) Homepage

      "Medical marijuana" is just a scam. 60 "grow facilities" in Boulder, Colorado? Four times as many "dispensaries" in San Jose as 7-11s? [nytimes.com].

      Maybe four times as many people need pot as need slurpees. It's an effective treatment for a vast array of common conditions such as chronic anxiety, ADHD, nausea, or just everyday aches and pains. It's not just for the terminally ill. While most states with medical marijuana laws restrict it to only the most severe cases, California allows it for any condition a doctor feels justified in prescribing it for.

      If it's to be treated as a medical treatment, it should be moved to Schedule II or III, prescribed by doctors, and distributed through pharmacies.

      You're right, it should. The only thing standing in the way is the federal government.

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Couple of problems with your arugments..

      1) There should not be medical marijuana. It should be as regulated as alcohol, if at all. Making it schedule anything is ridiculous and the whole reason it was made illegal in the first place was because those in power did not want to compete with it fairly as a textile (at the time) and then later on as a way to attempt to control the counterculture movement. There have never been any solid arguments backed by science to make this natural plant illegal.

      2) Real do

  • Not an Issue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:17PM (#34817266)

    As a former Boulder resident, I challenge anyone who thinks this is a privacy issue to find any address in Boulder where they aren't growing pot. It's as "legal" there as it is anywhere.

  • by vinn (4370) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:20PM (#34817298) Homepage Journal

    Let's be clear - this is a business license. The city is well within their right to place requirements on a business as part of a business license application. Now, the term used here was waive their "right to privacy", but this is almost certainly not what the city ordinance will say. The ordinance will likely say that inspections can be done to ensure compliance with state law as well as for public safety reasons to make sure that there isn't a fire danger.

    I'm not sure what the intentions of Boulder are, but we just got done crafting our own city ordinances for our small town in Montana. I think we did a fantastic job and one of the key objectives of writing it was to set up the guidelines under which the business license could be issued. The other major concern was zoning. At no time did any of us think, "Oh, we gotta collect all this information so we can do a raid." We collected it because a) it's the same information we collect for other businesses and b) there are some special concerns related to public safety and it would be completely irresponsible to to ignore those. For example, we require a security system and an inspection to make sure one was installed.

    • The city is well within their right to place requirements on a business as part of a business license application.

      That is standard cop-out language.
      It may be within their legal rights, but that's not the question.
      The question is "Is it the best choice given the likely effects?"

      At no time did any of us think, "Oh, we gotta collect all this information so we can do a raid."

      Of course not. But, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • Decriminalize it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crumbz (41803) <<remove_spam>jus ... o spam>gmail.com> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:11PM (#34817670) Homepage

    And this becomes a non-issue. After all liquor stores publicize their locations. After all liquor is a more addictive, more harmful drug by orders of magnitude yet it is regulated and legal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Master Moose (1243274)

      Always when pot is brought up, so to is this argument: "Decriminalise it. .". . . "Alcohol is worse. . "

      I work in public heathcare, and have had many dealing with mental institutions, the patients and the staff (many of which are indistinguishable - but that is another issue).

      Take a look inside any mental hospital, now look at the "Mad" people in there - people not born with retardation but rather who went mad later. In my experience, the vast majority of them are in there because of Drug use and abuse. (I

      • by crumbz (41803)

        I am afraid the data doesn't back you up on the claim that "many peoples psychosis is triggered solely by their [sic] use of drugs". Studies have shown that porlonged drug abuse may inflame psychotic outbreaks and other aperiodic abnormal events but causation is not highly correlated. Indeed, the correlation with respect to marijuana use is below that of other exogenous factors.

  • ... I have to wonder what sort of mentality thinks exposing growers to the very real risk of armed robbery by criminals is justifiable.

    Oh, look... he's advocating security through obscurity. Haven't we already agreed this isn't security? I guess not.

    The way to FIX this is to legalize it. Then anybody can grow it - it's not that hard or expensive - and they'd have no reason to send squads of armed thugs to someone else's house to raid their stash. Then security wouldn't even be an issue. Diamonds and go

    • by TheEyes (1686556)

      Ugh, another person mindlessly repeating "Security through obscurity!" like they know what it means.

      If this were a cryptographic problem, then the "secret information" would be the exact locations of the marijuana producers. The decision to not publish it online is not "security through obscurity," it's the equivalent of not posting your SSN and bank account information on your Facebook.

  • I'm anxiously waiting to hear the decision. If they start posting this information I'll expect a call from my insurance carriers announcing a rate increase or cancellation. Either way I'll have to hire real security until I can move shop.
  • I do not think that anyone can sign away provisions of a State law? The Colorado Medical Marijuana Code [state.co.us] specifically requires licensing authorities to keep location information of optional premises cultivation operation confidential.

    12-43.3-310.Licensing in general.

    14) THE LOCATION OF AN OPTIONAL PREMISES CULTIVATION OPERATION AS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 12-43.3-403 SHALL BE A CONFIDENTIAL RECORD AND SHALL BE EXEMPT FROM THE COLORADO OPEN RECORDS ACT. STATE AND LOCAL LICENSING AUTHORITIES SHALL KEEP THE LOCATIO

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