Club Cards 

Club Cards 
Posted by CN Staff on August 26, 2005 at 08:03:36 PT
By Chip McAuley 
Source: North Bay Bohemian
California -- Beginning in October, when medical marijuana smokers get carded by state and local law enforcement, they won't be arrested. It's all part of a new state-sanctioned pot card program through the Sonoma County Health Department. However, dope smokers can still expect to get thrown away by federal officials who refuse to acknowledge California's Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, that allows folks to put it in their pipe and smoke it--for medical reasons. The card program seems apt to fuel the flames of the ongoing controversy that has plagued the medicinal marijuana movement.
With legal issues still hampering full implementation of marijuana-as-medicine, it remains unclear how many of an estimated 3,000 Sonoma County residents will actually sign up for the voluntary program--a program that brings with it the threat of exposing users to both the feds and their neighbors. According to county officials, federal authorities would need a court order to access the confidential information. Deputy health officer Leigh Hall says the program will go before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in September before its likely implementation. "There is no real way for public health officials to track the number of medicinal marijuana users," says Hall. "This is the first time such a system will be in place. It's voluntary. It's also scary for some people. Even with the federal issues, some people still may not want to use the program. However, we will be providing state-mandated cards for people who are interested." The local program will mirror a pot card program that started earlier this year in Mendocino County. Indeed, pot-friendly Mendocino County first implemented a medicinal cannabis program through the sheriff's department after the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, touting approximately 1,200 registered users. Intended to replace the system through the sheriff's department, with its inference of discipline, a new program started in May through the Mendocino County Public Health Department and has issued 60 cards to date. "It's a little too early to tell if the program's been successful," says Dan Taylor, assistant director of public health for Mendocino County. "Sure, there are potential applicants who have concerns about issues surrounding federal laws, but it's important to remember that the card is optional." While the sheriff's department will no longer issue cards, the old IDs are good through December 2006--but only in Mendocino County. In Sonoma County, supervisors are still waiting for their official briefing on the program. Second District supervisor Mike Kerns says the medicinal marijuana card program sounded like a "good idea." Kerns, a former police sergeant for the City of Petaluma, says the initial passage of Proposition 215 was problematic for law enforcement. "When Proposition 215 passed, there were few guidelines on how such a system would work. This new ID program seems like a step in the right direction to enable those patients who need it to use it in a legal manner," says Kerns. "Some people may be reluctant to sign up for the program because it is still against federal law," he adds. "We're definitely going to take permission slips from doctors," says Santa Rosa mayor Jane Bender. "I think we need to work in concert with the county and other municipalities on the card program as well. Having a unified voice will be important." This latest progress toward mainstreaming marijuana-as-medicine comes after years of effort by local cannabis clubs to legitimize themselves and their missions in the face of antidrug opposition and the erroneous belief that clubs proliferate weed for nonmedical uses--claims that have never been substantiated. The drug has been indicated in the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. "We look forward to a time when patients can obtain marijuana in a safe and affordable manner without fear of threat of prosecution by the federal government," say representatives of the Sonoma Alliance for Medicinal Marijuana on its website --"We're all for the state card. If the county decides to go with the program, we support it," says the founder of Marvin's Gardens, a cannabis club in Guerneville who wished, for legal reasons, to remain anonymous. "It's going to be a mixed bag," says Doc Knapp, spokesperson for SAMM, about local response to the program. On balance, Knapp expects the results to be positive and to encounter no interference from the DEA, which already has lists of many medicinal marijuana users. Having spoken with business leaders and elected officials, Knapp says that he doubts if SAMM will participate in the program. In fact, large groups of people, including teachers, nurses and others, he says, may feel vulnerable about having information about medicinal marijuana use on record in addition to high-profile locals. As long as the feds are kept at bay, membership in the pot card program will definitely have its privileges. Note: Membership has its perks--and perils--when it comes to medical marijuana. Source: North Bay Bohemian, The (CA)Author:  Chip McAuley Published: August 24-30, 2005Copyright: 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.Contact: editor bohemian.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Marijuana Policy Project County Prepares for Pot Cards Resumes Medical Marijuana Program
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on August 31, 2005 at 14:53:47 PT:
True story.[but surpressed]
Bush the Greater. George Sr. has been using cannabis to treat his glycoma for many years now. This will make no difference with Bush family pot policy. The Bushes' and
their pot politics are all based on economics and politics.
If every memember of the Bush family had to use cannabis to stay alive they would treat it publicly just the same. 
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 27, 2005 at 15:37:03 PT
I hope your Mother is doing ok now. 
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Comment #10 posted by Max Flowers on August 27, 2005 at 09:50:25 PT
Thanks for the info on GnuPG. I was unaware that PGP could have back doors of any kind. I trusted it until now (although rarely ever used it, opting to use Hushmail instead), and now will be looking into GnuPG.
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Comment #9 posted by whig on August 27, 2005 at 03:19:29 PT
For those who may have some distrust of closed-source software (PGP) which may have undisclosed backdoors, there is an alternative: GnuPG. The GNU Privacy Guard is based on public-key cryptographic techniques that are believed to be sound and unbreakable with reasonable (1024 bit) key sizes, and the source code is audited by cryptographers to be secure against known attacks.
GnuPG Home Page
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Comment #8 posted by boballen1313 on August 26, 2005 at 23:33:14 PT
What will change medical cannabis
We live in a toxic environment. Cancer rates are soaring. Here in Adelaide South Australia we have the highest skin cancer rates in the world. The Bush Regime is ignoring the environment so the pressure is increasing. What will change medical cannabis will be the very public admission by an american "royal" that cannabis saved their life. Sorry Montel, they dont count us as royalty. If, Barbara Bush needed cannabis to fend off chemo and had the guts to override her surly spawn, I reckon the country would grow some ears to hear...maybe some eyes to see. But, until the royals get hurt, they dont wont admit to pain. I dont want anyone to get ripped with cancer! But my mum has a bit of lung cancer and she would have perished without a puff twenty minutes before tea... and she was ready to eat!
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on August 26, 2005 at 22:35:13 PT
Some basic info on PGP for those who are curious
This FAQ answer is excerpted from PGP(tm) User's Guide; Volume I: Essential Topics by Philip ZimmermannPGP(tm) uses public-key encryption to protect E-mail and data files. Communicate securely with people you've never met, with no secure channels needed for prior exchange of keys. PGP is well featured and fast, with sophisticated key management, digital signatures, data compression, and good ergonomic design.Pretty Good(tm) Privacy (PGP), from Phil's Pretty Good Software, is a high security cryptographic software application for MS-DOS, Unix, VAX/VMS, and other computers. PGP allows people to exchange files or messages with privacy, authentication, and convenience. Privacy means that only those intended to receive a message can read it. Authentication means that messages that appear to be from a particular person can only have originated from that person. Convenience means that privacy and authentication are provided without the hassles of managing keys associated with conventional cryptographic software. No secure channels are needed to exchange keys between users, which makes PGP much easier to use. This is because PGP is based on a powerful new technology called "public key" cryptography.PGP combines the convenience of the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) public key cryptosystem with the speed of conventional cryptography, message digests for digital signatures, data compression before encryption, good ergonomic design, and sophisticated key management. And PGP performs the public-key functions faster than most other software implementations. PGP is public key cryptography for the masses.PGP Freeware 6.5.8 includes support for both RSA and Diffie-Hellman keys.PGP may be downloaded from the MIT Distribution Center for PGP at
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Comment #6 posted by Max Flowers on August 26, 2005 at 22:32:16 PT
My understanding of PGP, which admittedly might not be that accurate, is that in order to crack it, the feds would need to devote essentially a huge roomful of computers working at it 24/7 for about 5 years. Regarding a "back door": there is no such thing with PGP, that is what makes it so hated by law enforcement. The inventor of it, Phil Zimmerman, was implored by FBI et al not to release it to the general public, and even threatened with bodily harm and/or jail if I recall the story correctly, but bless his heart, he realized that the world needed privacy more than the US government needed us not to have privacy, and he released it. I don't recall whether they jailed him or not for it.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 26, 2005 at 20:50:12 PT
I love Weeds. It's a great show. Episode #3 was so good. I'm in a database! LOL!
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Comment #4 posted by Ron Bennett on August 26, 2005 at 20:43:51 PT
Recent episode of WEEDS and Club Privacy...
Cannabis club member privacy was a theme in the most recent episode of WEEDS - the politician freaksout when he learns his name is in a database; she brings up the privacy issue to convince his friends and him on continuing to buy cannabis (and now related specialty foods too LOL!) from her to avoid being tracked in any databases.Once one's real name / address, etc is in a database, all the encryption in the world is no guarantee - if the Feds want it, they will get it ... especially since it's highly likely such card member databases will be accessible to more than just the club - ie. the state may have access; store such databases on the club's behalf.Assigning and storing only member numbers / PINs could potentially work, if the club *never* stores member real name / address in any database to begin with. Member numbers / PINs would allow a club to track / limit usage while never being able to associate any member with any real identity / address.Ron
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Comment #3 posted by charmed quark on August 26, 2005 at 17:14:51 PT
Is PGP good enough?
Couldn't the Feds crack PGP if they wanted. It's not that strong an encryption. And isn't there a law enforcement "back door"?
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on August 26, 2005 at 09:48:06 PT
Encrypt the records
I'm in Sonoma County and I won't sign up for the card until/unless the county decides to *truly* assure against federal interference, and by that I mean by doing what the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club does: scanning, then encrypting the patient records with PGP and then shredding the original paperwork. That way, they would not be meekly saying "you can't have it unless you have a court order" (which I don't think there is any doubt they could eventually get from a corrupt and sympathetic judge somewhere); by encrypting it they would be saying "you will NOT get these records, period, so don't even try!" Anything less is seen as being a heartbeat away from cooperation with them. 
Jurisdictional separations have to be firmly drawn, and vigorously guarded.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on August 26, 2005 at 09:00:36 PT
med.cannabis support
Yep, medical cannabis is supported by something like 80% of the population yet the spineless shills in the Federal Govt. haven't the balls to acquiesce to the will of the people out of fear of political career assasination and/or inflated sense of self importance.They just keep passing the hot potato.The best thing the federal government could do is get out of the way of the american public.I'm sure that is what our founding fathers intended.
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