Alameda County to issue medical pot ID

April 10, 2006

Chris Metinko, Contra Costa Times

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a contract for a company to provide identification cards to medical marijuana users in the county.

Alameda County Patient Services and its parent company, OCB Cooperative Inc., will be in charge of verifying applicants' eligibility and need for medical marijuana, as well collecting fees and issuing the cards.

Jeff Jones, executive director of OCB, said that while the cards are not mandatory, they may be useful to people who fear legal hassles from police or are worried about entering a dispensary to buy medical marijuana. Currently, a patient needs only proof that he or she is a resident of the state and a doctor's note prescribing use of marijuana.

Jones estimates there are between 7,000 and 12,000 medical marijuana users in Alameda County. The identification cards will expire after one year.

The Alameda County Public Health Department decided to contract the identification card program to an outside business because the department lacks the resources and knowledge necessary to run it.

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