FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
King's Co. Becomes 42nd California County to Adopt Medical Marijuana ID Card ProgramDecision Comes Two Weeks After Fresno Chooses to Start Its Program
CONTACT: Aaron Smith, MPP California organizer, 707-291-0076
KING'S COUNTY, Calif. — The King's County Board of Supervisors unanimously decided to adopt a medical marijuana identification card system today, making it the 42nd county to comply with a requirement mandated by a 2003 state law.
By giving patients the option of obtaining cards identifying them as qualified medical marijuana patients, law enforcement officers will be able to quickly discern whether they are operating within the law, sparing taxpayers the burden of costly, time-consuming false arrests, advocates said.
"California's voters, Legislature and the courts have made it clear that counties must comply with the state's medical marijuana law," said Aaron Smith, California organizer for the Marijuana Policy Project. "In instituting this I.D. card program, the King's County supervisors are not only demonstrating their understanding of the law and their obligation to follow it, they're helping ensure California's medical marijuana law works as voters intended it to."
Like the Fresno supervisors who voted for the I.D. card program just two weeks ago, the King's County board was waiting for a ruling on a legal challenge to the I.D. card program before making its decision. The 4th District Court of Appeals unanimously dismissed the challenge brought by San Diego and San Bernardino counties July 31, though both counties have vowed to appeal to the California Supreme Court.
Patients and advocates hailed the decision as the latest sign that local and state officials have come to understand the importance of protecting the rights of seriously ill Californians to use medical marijuana to relieve their pain if their doctors recommend it. In August, Attorney General Jerry Brown issued the most comprehensive directives on how law enforcement should interact with medical marijuana patients and collectives, a move lauded by the state's Police Chiefs Association as an important step toward clarifying the law. The guidelines state that the I.D. cards "represent one of the best ways to ensure the security and non-diversion of marijuana grown for medical use."
With more than 25,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.