Pubdate: Mon, 22 Sep 2008
Source: Hanford Sentinel, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Lee Newspapers
Author: Eiji Yamashita
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


The Kings County Board of Supervisors will make a decision Tuesday
about whether to implement the Medical Marijuana Identification Card
Program, required by California Law. Although 41 counties have
implemented the program -- including Kern, Tulare, Merced and most
recently Fresno -- Kings County has yet to take action on the program.

Officials say the county was waiting on the results of a lawsuit filed
against the law.

In 2004, when the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program became
effective, counties of San Diego and San Bernardino sued the state in
an attempt to overturn the implementation of medical marijuana use.

On July 31, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against
the challenge to the ID card program, upholding the lower court
decision that determined the program was lawful.

"We were waiting for what the result of that lawsuit would be," said
Perry Rickard, director of the Kings County Department of Public Health.

Rickard will bring to the item before the supervisors to seek their
direction Tuesday.

If implemented, the county would set an application fee of $225 for
non Medi-Cal beneficiaries and $112.50 for Medi-Cal recipients.
Rickard says there is no cost to the county associated with the
implementation of the program.

The ID card fees charged by the county, a measure allowed by the law,
will cover the costs incurred by the county to run the program,
Rickard said.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, also known as the
Compassionate Use Act, which made the medical use of marijuana legal
in the state although it didn't provide way of effective law
enforcement to identify patients legally protected by the act.

Then came the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program in 2004
through Senate Bill 420, which clarified means for effective law
enforcement and protection of patients against wrongful arrests. Under
the program, an ID is issued to those with "serious" medical
conditions, such as arthritis, cancer, migraine and AIDS and serves as
evidence of prescription by their physician.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Board
Chambers, 1400 Lacey Blvd., Hanford.
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath