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As a licensed and practicing primary care physician who has recommended medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions, I am very concerned about the false information J. M. Smith offers to readers in his "Off the Radar" article from the April 11 edition of Tucson Weekly. In this article, Mr. Smith offers three reasons to not ask your physician for a medical marijuana authorization; the first reason being "a list." No such list exists. A simple Google search will confirm this, but most importantly, any list like this would be a violation of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA is a federal law that legally protects a patient's health care information, including medical conditions, medication use, and in this case, marijuana use. All health care plans, health care providers and health care clearing houses must adhere to this law. Any information included in a medical chart, any conversation between patients and health care providers, and billing information are protected by HIPAA. Adding a patient's name to a "list" as suggested by Mr. Smith would be a severe violation of this federal law and the health care provider would be penalized. A patient may authorize for his or her information to be released to other parties, but only with written consent. This is basic medical rights 101. 

Dr. Britt Marie Deegan, ND


I've supported Steve Kozachik's Council positions almost all the time and have a lot of respect for him, but neglected in your portrait of him ("The Iconoclast," April 4) was a mention of the Main Gate Overlay District Ordinance he promoted last year at the expense of our historic neighborhood.  It seemed odd not to acknowledge it — it's not like you can miss what the ordinance allowed. The 14-story student housing development imposed on neighbors, currently casting its huge shadow at Tyndall and First Street, has risen thanks to Steve, the maker of the motion, and UA spokespersons Jan Cervelli and Bob Smith who publicly supported the huge height and density increases sought by developers at Zoning Examiner and Mayor and Council hearings over neighborhood objections.

Is there anyone who looks at that looming structure and doesn't think that building is too tall for that spot and belongs downtown where students might actually use the streetcar to get to school?  Probably a few folks, but for those of us living in West University, we are seeing our neighborhood change from a residential historic district of single family homes to a student housing district before our eyes and in the space of two years, thanks to the District on 5th, the Overlay, and this new tower, Level — the first of three massive structures coming within a space of two blocks. 

John Patterson

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