El Dorado County launches medicinal pot ID card

August 21, 2007

Cathy Locke, Sacramento Bee

The El Dorado County Public Health Department has initiated an identification card program for people with a physician's recommendation to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Participation in the program is voluntary.

The identification card can assist law enforcement officers in determining whether individuals using marijuana meet the requirements of Proposition 215, California's Compassionate Use Act. The law exempts patients, their caregivers and physicians who recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes from state criminal laws for possession, use, transportation, delivery or cultivation of marijuana.

County officials caution, however, that the state law does not protect marijuana plants from seizure or individuals from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act.

To qualify for the medical marijuana program and apply for an identification card, an individual must be 18 years or older with a serious medical condition and certification from a physician indicating that medical marijuana is appropriate for the condition, according to a county news release.

Identification cards are good for one year. Applicants must re-apply, show proof of continued medical need and pay the registration fee each year.

Cost of the identification card in El Dorado County is $114. Applicants with proof of current Medi-Cal/CMSP benefits will be charged $57. All fees are nonrefundable, even if the application is denied.

Applications are available at the Emergency Medical Services Agency, 415 Placerville Drive, Suite J, Placerville, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays. Forms also will be available on the Public Health Department's Web site, www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/publichealth , by Sept. 1. Completed applications will be accepted by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment to return an application, call (530) 621-6500.

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