Marijuana customers’ records taken from Toronto dispensary
WeeMedical blames disgruntled employee after health and contact information of 14 customers allegedly found on curb outside Toronto store.
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A customer of a medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Toronto says he feels his privacy has been violated after forms containing users’ contact and medical information was sent to Torstar News Service by an anonymous source.
“It’s hard to say if I will (go back),” said the customer, who asked that Torstar not use his name.
The forms, which belong to the B.C.-based WeeMedical Dispensary Society franchise chain, detail the names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, health problems and marijuana of 14 medical marijuana users.
Mailed to Torstar in a manila envelope, the forms were accompanied by a letter saying the source found them in a transparent bag on the curb outside the WeeMedical dispensary on Queen St. W., near Spadina.
“This is evidence that marijuana distribution should not be left to private businesses who are not aware of confidentiality,” the source wrote.
Angus MacAskill, a spokesperson in WeeMedical Dispensary Society’s corporate office in B.C., said the idea that forms were left on the curb was “a complete and total falsehood.”
“There was a disgruntled employee that left and stole a variety of medicine and information from our company while he was being let go,” he said in an email to Torstar.
“Patient information is held at an offsite secured location,” he added in a separate email.
MacAskill said WeeMedical filed a police report over the alleged document theft. He would not reveal the name of the disgruntled employee.
Toronto police were unable to confirm whether WeeMedical filed a police report.
An employee of the Queen St. W. dispensary location said she typically puts used forms in a recycling bin behind the shop counter, and does not know what her manager does with them after that.
Torstar contacted all 14 WeeMedical customers whose information was contained in the forms.
One said he felt his privacy had been violated; another said he did not care. Two declined to comment and the rest did not return Torstar’s calls or emails.
Brian Beamish, Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner, said personal health information contains intimate details of a person’s life, which could be embarrassing if revealed.
“When you’re dealing with people’s information, whether it’s health information or not, you should manage it responsibly,” Beamish said.
“If they’re retaining the documents, their responsibility, then, would be to ensure that they’re stored in a secured location. That can be on site or that can be offsite. The bottom line is you have to manage the records securely.”
In August, two teens were charged after the Queen St. W. location was robbed at gunpoint. Toronto police said a “large quantity” of marijuana and cash were taken in the robbery.
The only legal providers of medical marijuana in the country are those licensed by Health Canada. Storefront dispensaries are illegal under current Canadian law, said City of Toronto spokesperson Tammy Robbinson.
The WeeMedical franchise locations on Eglinton Ave. W., near Dufferin St., and on St. Clair W., near Bathurst St., were raided by Toronto police in May, during a city-wide sweep of illegal dispensaries.
Humans of Toronto