Fresno County Issues Medical Marijuana ID Cards

November 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Five years after voters in the state approved a measure allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, Fresno County has agreed to issue marijuana ID cards. If you have a note from a doctor saying you need pot, and $107, you can get a card allowing you to be in possession of a small quantity of marijuana, for medical use.

Jena Adams, Fresno County Health Department, says "The card will allow them to possess and to grow a certain amount of marijuana and to use for their medical purposes."

It's welcome news to Diana Kirby. She uses marijuana for pain management and other medical problems. She'll be first in line to get a marijuana card. It will keep her from being arrested. "Actually it makes the police officers life a little easier and it takes a little of the fright from most of us who have to travel somewhere to get our medication."

The Fresno County Health Department is offering a packet of information on how to get a card. The information is also online. They key is a Doctor's note saying the patient needs marijuana. "We do not need to know the diagnosis, just that they qualify," says Adams.

While California law enforcement officers will not arrest someone who has pot and a valid card, it's still a federal crime. But Action News legal analyst and attorney, Tony Capozzi says the feds won't get involved unless someone has a lot of pot, or is selling it. "The federal government won't come in an prosecute someone who is using it for medical purposes, so long as the possession of that marijuana is in small quantities," says Capozzi.

Those who operate marijuana dispensaries are still subject to federal prosecution. In Fresno County possession of 6 mature, or a dozen immature plants and 8 ounces of pot will be allowed with a valid marijuana card. Cards can be applied for now. They won't be issued until December 2nd.

The intent of the law is to allow those who have a medical need for marijuana to be able to get it. It's not for recreational users.

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