This may sound off the wall, but here goes. How does one go about securing a marijuana user and grower card? I read all about these people and have yet to see any advertisement. Anyway, I've talked to people at the VA hospital, and of course, no comment. Maybe you can help.
-- Ed S., Perris
If you're talking about the proposed California statewide ID card for users of medical marijuana, the bill is not yet law. (San Francisco has its own local ID program in place.) I'm sure you'll hear about it if and when it's confirmed. Senator John Vasconcellos introduced SB187, the "Medical Marijuana Bill," in the state senate a few months ago. It's his fourth or fifth try at getting the legislature to pass it. The bill hopes to put control of medical marijuana under the state health department and formalize some of the rather fuzzy effects of Prop 215, which legalized therapeutic pot in the first place.
As SB187 is currently worded, a person with a prescription from a doctor for clinical cannabis can present the order to his or her county health department and be issued an ID card similar to a driver's license. The bill also requires the state to determine how the plant can be grown and distributed and how much each person is entitled to. As things stand now, even with a prescription from a doctor (obviously not a federally employed VA doctor...), you're left on your own to find a supplier or to grow your own, though what quantities are legal is not defined.
A recent Supreme Court decision virtually guarantees that cannabis clubs will either disappear or keep very low profiles in the future. A club in Oakland challenged federal distribution laws on the basis of "medical necessity," but it lost. The state bill is supported by law enforcement and district attorneys who claim it will clarify the law and make their jobs easier. It's opposed by groups such as the American Medical Marijuana Association, which fears the bureaucrats will mishandle it and that it's just a chance to generate a list of people that could fall into the hands of the feds.
Steve McWilliams and Barbara MacKenzie of Shelter from the Storm Medical Cannabis Resource Center e-mailed a follow-up to our discussion of medical marijuana. They want interested San Diegans to know that the City of San Diego Medical Marijuana Task Force meets at noon on the third Friday of every month in City Hall (202 C Street), downtown, in the 12th floor "Closed Session" room. But it's not a closed meeting. Everyone's welcome. For more information, call 619-528-1850.
So far the bill has passed the state senate. From the San Diego area, Dede Alpert was the only senator voting for it; Battin and Haynes (who also represents Perris) voted no; Morrow and Peace didn't cast a vote. If you have strong feelings about 187, now's the time to contact your assembly representative, since the bill has to be voted on there before mid-July.