Card will give validity to medical marijuana users | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Card will give validity to medical marijuana users

William Ferchland

Those who smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes — and are following a recommendation from a qualified doctor – will soon have another identification card to add to their wallet.

Run through the county’s public health department, the identification card program for medical marijuana users adheres to a California law legalizing the use of the drug with a doctor’s recommendation.

The program was unanimously approved by county supervisors at a meeting earlier this month. Supervisor Norma Santiago said it was a mandate from the state.

“My impression is, yes, there was some concern from the state that we didn’t have a program in place,” Santiago said. “There is really nothing out of the ordinary.”

Aaron Smith with Safe Access Now supported the board’s approval, saying the ID card program works to curb the abuse of state medical marijuana laws and gives credibility to “bona fide” patients.

“Patients in El Dorado County have been waiting far too long,” Smith said.

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A recommendation from a qualified doctor and money to pay two processing fees — one undetermined amount to the county and $66 to the state — is required, said Gayle Erbe-Hamlin, director of county’s public health department. Erbe-Hamlin said the measure doesn’t endorse the use of medicinal marijuana.

Previously medical marijuana smokers and growers had only their doctor’s recommendation to show law enforcement to demonstrate they are legitimate users.

Registration for the cards will likely be run out of one office but “we have not yet fully worked out all the details,” Erbe-Hamlin stated.

The card will expire annually. It will have a photo, expiration date, name of issuing agency and identification number — no name or address.

Information will be destroyed at the end of the year if the card is not renewed, Erbe-Hamlin said.

Neither the public nor law enforcement can access the personal information transmitted to the state through a secure Web site, Erbe-Hamlin told the supervisors earlier in the year.

Matt Vaughn with the Medical Marijuana Caregivers Association of El Dorado County said previous lists of medical marijuana patients have been handed out to law enforcement.

“I’m hoping this card will protect us from our own local officers,” Vaughn said.

Law enforcement uses the ID number to search and confirm if the card is valid. “It should make our lives easier,” said Undersheriff Fred Kollar.

— The Mountain Democrat contributed to this story

Organizations that have endorsed medical access to marijuana include:

The Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians; American Bar Association; American Public Health Association; American Society of Addiction Medicine; AIDS Action Council; British Medical Association; California Academy of Family Physicians; California Legislative Council for Older Americans; California Medical Association; California Nurses Association; California Pharmacists Association; California Society of Addiction Medicine; California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; Colorado Nurses Association; Consumer Reports Magazine; Kaiser Permanente; Lymphoma Foundation of America; Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network; National Association of Attorneys General; National Association of People with AIDS; National Nurses Society on Addictions; New Mexico Nurses Association; New York State Nurses Association; New England Journal of Medicine; and Virginia Nurses

Source: Drug War Facts: Medical Marijuana

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/medicalm.htm

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