California, San Benito

Medical marijuana by county.

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California, San Benito

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:31 pm

Hollister Free Lance wrote:Still No Medical Marijuana IDs Available in San Benito County

The Hollister Free Lance
Friday, June 30, 2006
By Banks Albach

Hollister - A county medical marijuana identification program approved by supervisors is getting closer to completion, but issuing the ID cards is as far as San Benito County will go in condoning the use of the controversial weed for medical purposes.

County staff is currently reviewing a proposed $40 application fee for the ID card and could move it to the board of supervisors for a vote by the end of July, said Health and Human Services Director, Kathy Flores.

"And that's optimistic," she said. "I am hoping, at the latest, that we could have something instituted by the end of the summer."

The board of supervisors approved the ID program in February, which is mandated by state law under proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. Voters passed the act in 1996. The board also made it clear at the same meeting that marijuana co-ops and clubs would not be allowed in the county.

And before the board votes on the program, it will hold a series of public hearings, said board Chair Pat Loe.

"It depends on how much public interest there is," she said. "We've always said that we would allow the public to comment."

Under the program, an extension of state law, eligible users must present a licensed physician's recommendation and pay the $40 fee once per year, or the ID expires. That number could rise or fall, depending on recommendations by staff before the vote.

If approved, applications will be accepted several times per month at the county building on San Felipe Road, in Hollister. A processing period follows.

Rather than shifting the cost of a controversial program to county residents, a user fee will pay for the service. Overhead includes a digital camera, staff hours and application and ID materials.

It's making the program more attractive to some on the county board.

"From what I understand, this program needs to pay for itself," said Anthony Botelho. "Whatever the number of applicants, whatever the costs, they need to be passed on to those particular users."

Botelho also reiterated his adamant stance against any marijuana dispensaries. He said he's willing to introduce legislation banning them in the county.

"I don't think this county should have dispensaries," he said. "Santa Cruz County has them."

Santa Clara County approved a similar program in January and has been issuing IDs for three months at $60 a pop. Proof of Medicare or Medicaid cuts the cost in half.

The program's turnout has been far less than expected, though, said Teresa Chagoya, spokesperson for Santa Clara's public health department. The state estimated there to be nearly 7,000 eligible applicants, while the county took a more conservative stance: 2,600. As of may, the county has issued 75 IDs.

"It's far less than we anticipated," she said.

Some counties have flatly refused to abide by the state law. San Diego's board of supervisors filed suit against the state of California in January, claiming that federal drug laws override proposition 215 and the state's mandate requiring the issuance of IDs. San Bernadino and Merced counties have joined the effort.

A superior court judge allowed the case to proceed on June 9th after hearing pleas from defendants to dismiss the case.


Banks Albach covers local government for the Free Lance. Reach him at 831-637-5566 ext. 335.

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Applications accepted two days a month

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 pm

The Pinnacle wrote:The Pinnacle

Friday, October 13, 2006
By Melissa Flores

Applications accepted two days a month

San Benito County residents with chronic illnesses will now be able to legally obtain and possess marijuana without fear of wrongful arrest.

The San Benito County Health and Human Services Public Health Division launched its medical marijuana program, which provides an identification card for patients who have been prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes. It also registers patients and physicians with the California Department of Health Services.

Appointments to apply for cards are available on the first and third Tuesdays of each month between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. So far the county hasn't served anyone with the new program.

"The state estimated how many people would be applying and they thought there would be a couple hundred people and their caretakers," said Liz Falade, the county's health officer. "We haven't served anyone yet."

Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was the first statewide measure to allow marijuana for medical uses in the United States.

While patients have been allowed to use medical marijuana when prescribed since 1996, the state first launched its medical marijuana program to keep track of legal users in May 2005. The state health services department is still working with some counties to establish local programs, though many, like San Benito, have already started their own programs.

Medical marijuana patients are not required to get an ID card, but the ID cards and the registry are meant to keep those using marijuana legally from wrongful arrest and prosecution.

"It is a way to establish your credibility as a person who is entitled to have a certain amount of marijuana in their possession," Falade said.

The state guidelines allow marijuana use for patients who have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition for which the plant has been proven to subside some symptoms. Most of the diseases are those that have symptoms of debilitating pain or overwhelming nausea.

To apply for a medical marijuana ID card, residents have to show proof of residency in San Benito County, a government issued photo ID and a physician's recommendation. San Benito charges $40 for each card and it is valid for one year. Medi-cal patients pay only 50 percent, or $20 for the cards.

Primary caregivers are allowed to apply for an ID card if they can show that they are the person who provides housing or other services to a patient who has applied for a card. A primary caregiver can be a friend or family member or a healthcare worker at a clinic, hospice or other facility.

According to California Health and Safety code, qualified patients and primary caregivers can have up to eight ounces of dried marijuana, six mature plants or 12 immature plants per patient.

Marijuana has been prescribed to treat:
<ul class=postlist><li>AIDS</li>
<li>cachexia, or wasting syndrome</li>
<li>chronic pain</li>
<li>persistent muscle spasms, such as those associated with multiple sclerosis</li>
<li>severe nausea</li></ul>

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