Lawmakers, Lobbyists Discuss Medical Marijuana Registry Bill
Medical marijuana advocates Wednesday will meet with lobbyists representing physicians and law enforcement officials "to begin wrestling over details" of a measure that would establish a patient registry for medical marijuana users, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill (SB 187), sponsored by state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), would establish a statewide computer registry "that could be tapped by police officers" and would provide registered patients with identification cards. In addition, the legislation would limit the amount of marijuana that patients could grow and use for medical purposes. The measure, which resembles a Vasconcellos bill that "stalled" in 1999 after police and district attorneys "balked over key details," has won support from some state law enforcement officials, who have called for standards "to bring clarity to the issue." However, medical marijuana advocates called the requirement that patients register with the state "unconstitutional because it might threaten to strip unregistered patients of their legal protections in court under Proposition 215." Physicians also oppose mandatory registration for doctors who administer medical marijuana, citing a potential for federal prosecutors to "use the registry to track down doctors who have recommended marijuana as a medicine." Sue North, Vasconcellos' chief of staff, said that lawmakers will "haggl[e] out" the "nuts and bolts" of the bill in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, California medical marijuana advocates maintain that the May 14 Supreme Court ruling on the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative "stopped well short of invalidating" Proposition 215, only giving "federal officials leeway to go after organized clubs that sell marijuana to patients" (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 5/29).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.