Fresno County Handing Out Medical Pot ID Cards

September 10, 2008 12:12:34 AM PDT
The Fresno County Supervisors approved the ID cards in a three to one vote.They're designed to help law enforcement know who should and should not be arrested for having marijuana.

Fresno is now on board with much of the rest of the state. 70 percent of California counties have already agreed to implement the ID cards. For one supervisor, it wasn't a moral issue instead came down to the potential loss of county money.

Diana Kirby smokes marijuana every day. The disabled mother says it's the only thing that works to control chronic pain left from a car accident 35 years ago.

"My baby had just turned three when I had my accident and I was in a hospital bed for three years."

Kirby became allergic to most medications, including morphine after more than a dozen surgeries to repair her shattered body. Desperate for relief, she says a doctor recommended marijuana.

Diana Kirby, Medicinal Marijuana User: "I don't know what I would do without it because I can't even take an everyday Aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil any of that stuff that you can go buy over the counter, my body won't take it."

Tuesday Fresno County finally agreed to start issuing medicinal marijuana ID cards ... It means those, like Kirby with doctor's permission, will not be arrested for possessing marijuana, or picking it up from a dispensary.

Supervisor Bob Waterston voted yes on the ID cards after seeing two other California counties challenge the state law and lose.

Bob Waterston, Fresno County Supervisor: "As far as I'm concerned, it's been tested in the state. Now if we'd have voted against it today we'd have been into another legal battle which the county cannot afford that I mean we've already got enough financial problems besides going to court over something that's proved to be legal."

"This is a little bit of my product."

Kirby says with the ID card, she'll now have the legal backing she needs to feel safe while smoking pot.

"It's better now, ID rather be legal and open and not hide."

Merced and Tulare counties have already approved ID cards.

The ID cards only protect users from state and local prosecution. The federal government still does not recognize medical marijuana.

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