Medical pot cards will be issued

January 03, 2006

Kelly Pakula, San Mateo Daily Journal

The San Mateo County Health Department announced that Tuesday it started accepting applications for identification cards for residents in need of medical marijuana.

The county’s Medical Marijuana Identification Card program provides patients a photo ID card that can be used as proof that they have been recommended by their physician to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, the health department reported.

The card, in large part, will help law enforcement officials decipher whether or not a person is in possession of marijuana illegally or not, the health department reported.

To obtain a card the applicant must reside within county limits, offer a note form a state accredited physician in good standing, provide some proof of identity and proof of residency within the county.

Applicants must also pay a non-refundable $45 fee, with Medi-Cal beneficiaries getting a 50 percent discount off the fee, the health department reported.

Interested applicants must apply for their card in person with the county’s Public Health Vital Statistics Department located at 225 37th Ave. in San Mateo.

After the county receives an application it has 30 days to approve or deny a person admittance into the program. Once a person is approved, their application will be sent to the California Department of Health Services, which will then have five days to make the program available to that person, the health department reported.

Beverly Thames, San Mateo County Health Department public information officer, said the state department of health “estimates for San Mateo County 2,800 people a year” will apply for the cards.

Thames said applicants must reapply for the card every year with the health department.

The county, however, will only issue the ID cards, not the marijuana. Thames said she was “not aware of any permitted marijuana dispensers in the county.”

Public Health Vital Statistics is open from Monday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a lunch break between noon and 1 p.m., and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.

More information on the Medical Marijuana Identification Card program can be found on the Web site,

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