Medical Marijuana ID Cards Coming

Medical Marijuana ID Cards Coming
Posted by CN Staff on February 17, 2005 at 09:33:59 PT
By Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat
Source: Press Democrat
The state will begin issuing identification cards to medical marijuana users in Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin counties this summer, part of a pilot program in 10 counties designed to protect certified users from arrest and pot seizures.The voluntary ID card program, developed by the state Department of Health Services, will be expanded statewide by year's end, said Norma Arceo, a spokeswoman for the department.
Law enforcement officials hailed the move, saying it will simplify a confusing patchwork of local policies and make it easier to distinguish between legal marijuana users and criminals."I think it's good news for everybody," said Mendocino County Sheriff Tony Craver, who helped start the first county medical marijuana program in California in 1999.The state ID cards, required under a 2003 law, have been on hold because the Legislature hadn't authorized funding to launch the program, Arceo said. Legislators approved $983,000 last year to implement the law, sponsored by former state Sen. John Vasconcellos.Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin counties - which already have local programs to identify medical marijuana users - volunteered to participate in the pilot program, which is expected to be on line in late July, Arceo said.The other pilot program participants are Del Norte, Trinity, Shasta, Amador, Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Yuba counties.The cards will make it easier for law enforcement officers to know whether people they find with marijuana possess it legally, Sonoma County Sheriff Bill Cogbill said. If they do, officers can simply walk away rather than investigate the case."I'm all for it," he said.Medical marijuana activists also were pleased."It's a good step in the right direction," said Dane Wilkins, director of the North Coast office of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which pushed for implementation of the law.Some counties, including Mendocino, initiated local ID card programs to allow authorized medical users to possess marijuana without fear of arrest while the state worked out the kinks in Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative that legalized pot for medical purposes.But local identification cards often weren't recognized by other cities and counties, Craver said.The CHP, which is being sued for allegedly arresting medical pot patients who have doctors' prescriptions, also largely ignored the identification cards, he said.While the new identification program is expected to halt the CHP's policy of seizing pot they find in vehicles, it won't affect federal law enforcement agencies. Federal law treats all marijuana as illegal.To implement the program, the state Department of Health Services will begin verifying physician recommendations for marijuana, which will be collected and processed by county health departments.All card holders will be listed on a secure Web site, which can be accessed 24 hours a day only by law enforcement, Arceo said.Applicants will pay an as yet undetermined fee to obtain the cards. The fees, which will be collected by counties, will cover local and state costs of maintaining the program, Mendocino County Public Health Director Carol Mordhorst said.However, many of the details still are being worked out, Mordhorst said. She doesn't know what exactly her department's role will be nor its costs or fees."There clearly is work that has to be done," Mordhorst said.Note: Sonoma, Mendocino, Marin counties in pilot program to protect certified users.Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)Author: Glenda Anderson, The Press DemocratPublished: Thursday, February 17, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Northern California NORML Marijuana Information Links To Issue ID Cards To Medicinal Pot Users Sues State To Stop CHP Pot Confiscations Challenges CHP Confiscation of Medical Pot 
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on February 19, 2005 at 13:20:29 PT
What would seem to make sense would be some kind of legal guarantee from the state, something that states in writing that if they give your name as a cardholder to the feds, that they are civilly liable. Problem is, lots of people would be privy to that list of cardholder names, and any one of them could slip it to DEA and no one would know who did it, and you couldn't prove or show it later. Myself, I won't do it unless it somehow becomes 100% mandatory, but since H&S 11362 is an initiave law, I don't think they can legislate an amendment, can they? In other words, isn't it immune to modifications by legislation?
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Comment #2 posted by JustGetnBy on February 17, 2005 at 14:52:49 PT
Hit List
Somebodys got to say it. How can we know for sure that these sate issuedcards wont be a pe-printed hit list for the DEA.They have given us zero reasons to trust them.........  SOMEBODY HAD TO SAY IT OUT LOUD. We have all been thinking it.  There it is, on the table ???????
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on February 17, 2005 at 09:42:43 PT
a refute...the blood rush thing again...
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