The Federal Court of Canada has certified a class action commenced on behalf of more than 40,000 medical marijuana licensees alleging that Health Canada violated their privacy.
In November 2013, Health Canada sent notices to more than 40,000 participants of the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) to advise of changes to regulations governing the use of medical marijuana in Canada. The notices were delivered in oversized envelopes that had the words "Health Canada - Marihuana Medical Access Program" on the return address, revealing to anyone who saw the envelope that the recipient was licensed to possess or produce medical marihuana for medical purposes.
Previously, Health Canada's mailings to MMAP members were discreet and made no mention of marijuana on the envelopes. Despite the Government of Canada's acknowledgement of the error, it insists that no one was harmed by the breach.
Recipients were upset, and maintain their privacy had been violated. Some said they worried they'd lost their jobs or become victims of a home invasion, reports CBC News.
"It opened us up for discrimination," said Debbie Stultz-Giffin, chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society. She was one of 2,105 Nova Scotians who received the letter, and she said it left patients and caregivers open to everything from condemnation from family and friends to robbery.