City Switches To State-Issued Marijuana IDs

City Switches To State-Issued Marijuana IDs
Posted by CN Staff on January 09, 2006 at 07:35:54 PT
By Marisa Lagos, Staff Writer
Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco, CA -- As San Francisco’s health department makes the switch today to state-issued medical marijuana cards, some advocates remain wary of the new IDs, which allow Sacramento to keep a photo of patients on file.California voters passed Proposition 215, legalizing medicinal marijuana, in 1996, and in 2003 the state Legislature passed a law requiring the state’s Department of Health Services to issue identification cards.
Implementation of that program, however, was delayed until last summer. Since then, 13 of the 58 counties in the state have switched from locally issued ID cards to the state identification.The City’s Department of Public Health, which oversees San Francisco’s program, expects to issue about 30 cards a day. Since The City began its medical marijuana program in 2000, it has issued nearly 10,000 cards. County-issued IDs will remain valid until their expiration date.In addition to retaining a copy of the photo that will be placed on the new IDs, the state will also keep track of the ID number listed on the card and the county in which it is issued for a year. A spokeswoman said the state only keeps the information and photo on file in case a patient needs a replacement ID.Counties may decide individually whether to keep any of the patient’s personal information on file, which San Francisco will not do. San Mateo County, by contrast, keeps a copy of the patient’s application and doctor’s notes. Marin County, like San Francisco, retains no records and began issuing the state cards this fall.Patient advocates have long objected to public agencies keeping any personal or identifying information on file, both because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and because, they say, some patients don’t want employers and others knowing about their treatment.“I just wonder why we are in such a hurry to institute the state program, in lieu of the good program we now have, which has been successful for five years,” said patient and medical marijuana advocate Wayne Justmann, who is HIV-positive.Dr. Joshua Bamberger, who oversees The City’s program, said officials here have been eager to start the program for months but finally got all the administrative issues worked out. They hope it will make life easier for patients when they travel outside The City. New city law, he added, requires that patients have a valid card.“People have been really receptive to the state card here,” said Rochelle Ereman, who is in charge of Marin County’s program. “They think it really validates the program.”Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)Author:  Marisa Lagos, Staff WriterPublished: Sunday, January 8, 2006 Copyright: 2006 San Francisco ExaminerContact: letters sfexaminer.comWebsite: Related Article: ID Plan for Pot Users Gets Mixed Reaction Medical Marijuana Archives 
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