State Set To Raise Fees for Medical Marijuana ID Cards
A state lawmaker and medical marijuana advocates are asking the state to delay a proposed fee increase for its medical marijuana identification card program, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports (Rossmann, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/18).
Proposition 215, a 1996 ballot initiative, permits California residents to use marijuana if recommended by a physician. A subsequent state law requires counties to issue identification cards to people who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana (California Healthline, 12/8/06). However, the law does not include a deadline for counties to issue ID cards, and only 24 of the state's 58 counties are participating.
State law requires the ID card program to fund itself, and Department of Health Services spokesperson Michelle Mussuto said fees for the cards are the program's only source of income.
Beginning on March 1, the state's annual fees for the cards will increase from $13 to $142. Medi-Cal beneficiaries' fees for the cards will increase from $6.50 to $71 annually. County fees for the cards also must be paid, bringing the cost of the cards to more than $200 per year.
Assembly member Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) in a letter to DHS Director Sandra Shewry asked that the fee increase be delayed for one year, allowing Los Angeles County and other larger counties to join the program and begin helping to fund it (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/18).