HEALTH DEPT: Good news! Now you can get your state medical marijuana
ID card again. Oh, by the way, information you send us to apply for a
card may still be used by the feds to identify and prosecute you. But
at least we're off the legal hook ourselves.
MEDICAL POT USERS: Hey, thanks for retaining and sharing those
records! We knew we could count on you to do your job and uphold state
Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>
Sacramento -- California Health Director Sandra Shewry announced Monday
that the state has resumed its Medical Marijuana ID Card program.
After receiving legal advice from the California
attorney general that operating the pilot program would not aid and abet
marijuana users in committing a federal crime, Shewry directed staff of
the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) to resume
operations that were suspended on July 8.
"The state attorney general has reviewed this concern
and said that California can issue ID cards to medical marijuana
users without state employees facing prosecution for assisting in the
commission of a federal crime," Shewry said. "Today (Monday) the state
resumed operating the Medical Marijuana ID Card program."
But the attorney general also said that information received from
applicants for medical marijuana ID cards may be obtained by federal
officials to identify them for prosecution.
In response, CDHS will be modifying the ID card application to inform
applicants that possession of marijuana remains a federal crime and
information provided by them could be used for federal prosecution,
Shewry added that CDHS will ask the three counties that have issued
state ID cards to notify all card-holders of their risk for federal
The Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program was designed to
provide patients an ID card that could be used as evidence that they had
received a recommendation from their physician to use marijuana for
The card can assist law enforcement officials in determining whether an
individual using marijuana meets the requirements of the Compassionate
Use Act, which says that with the recommendation of a physician, a
may obtain and use marijuana for personal medical purposes.
On June 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against two California women
who sought a decision that the federal government does not have
jurisdiction to enforce federal law against individuals growing
for their personal medical use. The court, however, determined that
Congress does have the authority to prohibit local cultivation and use
Although the court's decision did not directly affect California's
Compassionate Use Act, approved by voters in 1996, and state law, the
decision raised questions about whether the state can legally conduct a
program that assists in the violation of federal law. In an effort to
clarify the issue, CDHS sought legal advice from the attorney general.
CDHS began pilot testing an identification card and registry system in
three counties -- Amador, Del Norte and Mendocino -- in May. To date,
123 cards have been issued. With the resumption of the program, the
testing is scheduled to be completed at the end of this month and the
expanded statewide beginning Aug. 1.
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