County to apply 'not valid under federal law' sticker to medical marijuana ID cards

August 13, 2007

, Lassen News (CA)

Instead of stamping state medical marijuana ID cards “not valid under federal law,” Lassen County officials will apply a sticker with the same message.

Supervisor Jim Chapman insisted on stamping the statement on the cards in red ink when the board approved in June a resolution establishing the medical marijuana ID card program, established in 1996 by Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act.

At the board’s Tuesday, Aug. 14 meeting, Assistant County Administrative Officer Kevin Mannel said state officials vetoed stamping the cards, but there’s nothing to stop the county from adding the sticker. Unless the board instructed him otherwise,

Mannel said he planned to have nickel-size yellow stickers printed with red lettering and have Lassen County Public Health staff apply the stickers to the cards and explain to card carriers that the medical marijuana ID card does not protect them from federal prosecution for marijuana possession. None of the five board members objected and

Chapman said he was glad the county has the ability to put a sticker on the cards.

A letter dated July 24 from Karen Parr, the chief of the medically indigent services section of the California Department of Public Health, states the cards, or MMICs, are produced through a contracted vendor “and the production price of the MMIC specified within the contract is based on the current design, therefore, it cannot be changed.”

It said any design changes would increase the card costs and any increase “must be passed on to the counties. Furthermore, in order to assist law enforcement in verifying valid medical marijuana patients or caregivers the information contained on the MMICs must be consistent statewide.”

The medical marijuana ID card application informs patients they are not protected from prosecution under federal law, Parr’s letter said, providing “sufficient notification to patients and primary caregivers of possible federal prosecution.”

“It appears that the letter can also be interpreted that we can comply with the sticker to meet the full intent of the previous board action and not conflict with the intent of the MMP program at the state level,” Mannel told the board.

Senate Bill 420, which implements Prop 215 and became law in January 2004, specifies a patient, who has documentation from a physician verifying the client suffers from a serious medical condition and the use of medical marijuana is appropriate, must pay a fee, which the resolution sets at $150, or $117 for those served by MediCal.

The county must verify the address of the person applying for a card by checking proof of residency and a government-issued photo ID. The state issues the card after the county health department screens the application and reviews it for completeness.

If anything is missing the state automatically denies the application.

Once the application is entered into a computer the state will issue a card within five days and send it to the county public health department. Public health staff can then apply the sticker before notifying the user to pick up the ID card.



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