Bill To Limit Possession Under Medical Marijuana Law Faces Opposition
A bill (SB 420) passed by the Legislature earlier this month that would limit the amount of medical marijuana that patients can legally possess faces opposition from both supporters and opponents of the state's medical marijuana law, the Los Angeles Times reports. The measure, sponsored by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), would limit to six plants, or one-half pound, the amount of medical marijuana patients could have (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 9/27). The measure also would create voluntary identification cards for patients using and caregivers dispensing marijuana for medical purposes under Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot initiative allowing state physicians to recommend marijuana to sick patients. The bill would direct the Department of Health Services to develop the program and would require county health departments to certify applicants' eligibility for the IDs. The bill also would clarify who is allowed to use medical marijuana under Proposition 215 (California Healthline, 9/12). Gov. Gray Davis (D) has not yet indicated if he will sign the bill; however, he vetoed similar legislation last year. According to the Times, Vasconcellos, who has introduced similar legislation during the past three legislative sessions, this year "sought to push a bill ... that would win acceptance from all sides." However, the California Narcotic Officers' Association opposes the measure, saying that ID cards should be mandatory, not voluntary. Advocacy groups including the American Medical Marijuana Association and a Santa Cruz marijuana cooperative oppose the legislation because they say the amount limit is too low. However, Scott Imler, a supporter of the bill and founder of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was shut in a 2001 federal raid, said the bill would establish a "reasonable limit" (Los Angeles Times, 9/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.