Wednesday, November 26, 2008

County explores pot card ID program

Tuesday, Nov 25 2008, 9:22 pm
By Rob Parsons/Staff Writer

It's high time for a medical marijuana card program in Colusa, officials said.

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week formed a committee to explore and eventually implement the pot card program for medicinal users.

The local committee comprises Beth Robey, director of Health and Human Services, District Attorney John Poyner and supervisors Mark Marshall and Gary Evans.

Passed in 1996, the Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215, allows doctors to recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes. In 2003, California passed SB 420, which allows the Department of Health Services to create an ID card program.

The cards are intended to provide law enforcement with the means to identify legal medical users.

Statewide marijuana advocacy groups have been pushing the remaining counties to implement the law. Colusa County is one of the last counties in the state to implement the program, in part because there has been no local demand for it, Robey said.

Officials admit there has been sense of urgency to establish the program locally.

Poyner said the county's informal system has worked well enough without the establishment of a card program.

"I think (the informal system) works just fine," Poyner said.

Colusa Sheriff Scott Marshall said medical marijuana laws are confusing and have created a new kind of criminal.

"There is a problem developing with criminals ripping off people with medical marijuana grows," Marshall said.

"That's a new problem that medical marijuana caused."

Marshall said the biggest misconception about the law is that marijuana is legal in certain cases.

"Marijuana is still illegal," Marshall said.

"Prop. 215 cards just prevent prosecutors from prosecuting the crime."

Marshall said it is a poorly written law with too many loopholes that clashes with federal anti-drug legislation.

Robey said the program could be a positive alternative for individuals with serious medical issues. She said she is curious to see what, if any, locals will have in the program.

"In my opinion, the lack of demand for it means our informal system is working," Robey said.
There is no timetable for implementation of the program, officials said.

Contact Rob Parsons at 458-2121 or

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