Making the Voluntary ID card “Mandatory” will limit the number of qualified patients who have safe access to medical cannabis.
There are approximately 3,000 patients in San Francisco who have applied for and received a State-issued ID card, but the estimated number of qualified patients exceeds 10,000. This indicates that 2/3rds of the city’s medical cannabis patients will soon be turned away at the doors of their current collectives if the mandatory ID card provision stays in place. However, the illnesses for which medical cannabis is recommended are often times chronic and long-standing leaving a significant percentage of the 7,000 patients without safe access to their medicine. forcing the sick to turn to the illicit market and contradicting the intent of Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420.
Senate Bill 420 Defines “Qualified Patient” For Californians: San Francisco legislation should reflect that definition.
SB 420 mandates equal protection for patients with a physician’s statement AND patients with a state-issued Identification card.
The existing definition of a “qualified patient” under HS Code 11362.7 is:
(f) “Qualified patient” means a person who is entitled to the protections of Section 11362.5 [Proposition 215], but who does not have an identification card issued pursuant to this article.
It makes more sense and is more consistent with state law San to establish a requirement that collective operators verify physician recommendations before granting membership and providing medical cannabis.
Adding this necessary step in the process allows patients the freedom of choice to participate in the ID card program as it was intended whilst providing access to those that do not wish to participate in the ID card program. Most importantly, mandatory verification by dispensaries avoids any legal complications for the city that might arise from establishing additional criteria for San Francisco patients and caregivers.
Imposing the ID Card as the Sole Legal Source of Verification Complicates Compliance and Monitoring
Since the dispensary regulations took effect in January 2006, there has been no mechanism for enforcement of the ordinance’s requirement that patient-members of a collective have a State-issued Medical Cannabis Identification card. Consequently, the dispensaries that have complied with this provision have seen a drastic drop in the number of “qualified patients” they serve. If this provision remains in place with no mechanism for enforcement, it works to the disadvantage of the dispensaries that are in compliance. If the ID cards are mandatory in San Francisco, these dispensaries will see fewer patients, have fewer resources for patient services, and their patient-members will see a drop in their quality of care.
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