State Raises Fees For Pot Cards

January 11, 2007

, KCBS radio (San Francisco)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)  -- Card-carrying medical marijuana patients will soon pay ten times as much for the privilege of having their pot use registered with the state.

In March, the ID cards issued to medical marijuana users by the Department of Health Services will go from $13 to $142. The additional revenue will fund the database the department maintains of those who voluntarily register, according to a spokeswoman, Michelle Mussuto.

“The medical marijuana card program has to be funded from the fees that are collected from the purchase of the card,” she said. “Part of what the fees do is maintain this database.”

The cards allow state residents who use medical marijuana to possess a certain amount of pot without fear of arrest. Law enforcement officers can access the user’s record in the state database to determine whether arrest or prosecution are appropriate.

The 24 counties that now use the system were notified of the fee hike last month, Mussuto said. Each county has the authority to tack on its own additional fees on top of what the state charges.

Medical marijuana advocates have criticized a price increase they believe may discourage potential new applicants, but Mussuto said the state is not providing any recourse for users who can't afford the cards.

California has issued 8,454 of the cards so far.

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