San Francisco starts allowing medicinal use of marijuana

Saturday, July 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO – A new law took effect Friday that allows residents with a doctor's note and $25 to get a health identification card that shows they are legal marijuana smokers.

City officials and those who advocate marijuana for medicinal uses say people who need the substance also need to be free of police scrutiny.

"This is such a positive step to be recognized by a city government," said Jane Weirick, director of the San Francisco Patients Resource Center, who uses marijuana to help her deal with a degenerative disk disorder.

"We should do anything we can that makes it easier for patients to be recognized as legitimate. This is a way we can say: 'Hey, this is real. This is valid.' And it's time for law enforcement to start seeing that this is valid."

The governing San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the ID card program in January. The voluntary program is another step in instituting Proposition 215, approved by California voters in 1996. The law allows people suffering from such illnesses as AIDS, cancer and glaucoma to possess marijuana legally.

Advocates have also praised San Francisco's identity program for its confidentiality. The cards will show the person's photo, but not his or her name or address. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will keep only a serial number and expiration date.

Distributed by New York Times News Service.