"I picked the book up and I opened it and right away. I noticed the top of each page; medical marijuana registry forms. The next thing I noticed is there is all these people's personal information on each one of those sheets," Morton said.
The forms were inside plastic sleeves and contained social security numbers and dates of birth, along with patient names, addresses and telephone numbers. The binder contained the personal and medical information of dozens of patients.
The forms were on letterhead identified as Apothecary of Colorado, a dispensary in Denver.
Adam Stapen, an attorney for Apothecary of Colorado, says their patient records are "kept under lock and key to protect privacy of patients."
He says the current owners purchased the dispensary on July 1 and it is possible the patient records are from before that.
While the Colorado Department of Revenue is charged with overseeing medical marijuana dispensaries, they have no statutory authority regarding the handling of patient records. The state legislature would need to pass a statute creating such authority.
"This is really upsetting that patient personal information, their medical records, could be so carelessly discarded and left for others to find. Not only does it raise the specter of identity theft, but is also compromises people's personal medical information," Pat Steadman, a Colorado state senator representing Denver, said. "This is something the legislature probably will be debating come next month."
Morton was going to deliver the binder to the Denver Police. He says his concern is for the patients with information in the binder.
"I thought people should know all this information was loose, lying in an alley in Denver," Morton said. "I've had problems in the past with identity theft myself and that was my first thought, that all of these people's identities could or already have been stolen."
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)