Medical marijuana ID program resumes

July 18, 2005

Josh Richman, Daily Review

California's medical marijuana identification card program was reinstated Monday, according to state Health Director Sandra Shewry.

On July 8 Shewry had ordered the program — created by a 2003 state law and about to expand from a three-county trial run to statewide implementation — suspended until Attorney General Bill Lockyer could give an opinion on whether it put state workers at risk of federal prosecution.

Lockyer repeatedly has said last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling should not affect enforcement of California's own law.

Shewry issued a statement Monday saying Lockyer had reviewed the concern 'and said that California can issue ID cards to medical marijuana users without state employees facing prosecution.' Her statement also says Lockyer noted that federal agencies could seize information received from applicants for these voluntary medical marijuana ID cards. The state will modify the application form to inform people that possession of the drug remains a federal crime, and that the information they provide could be used against them.

The cards are meant to provide patients with proof that they've received a doctor's recommendation to possess and use marijuana under state law. The Drug Policy Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union last week had threatened to sue the state if the program wasn't reinstated by today.

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