We won’t ask why you’re thinking about getting your medical marijuana card. We’re not here to judge. Here’s our list of a few things to keep in mind, though, before you let your biology books and daily planner disappear into a plume of pungent smoke.
Will This Go on Your Permanent Record? Nope. Right now there is no searchable database for bosses and enemies to leaf through in an attempt try to destroy your reputation. Although Senate Bill 420—which passed in 2003—was supposed to establish a central registry and patient database, no one ever got around to it. So for now, just don’t fumble your club card out of your wallet when you show the HR gal your driver’s license on your first day of work.
Feds Ain’t All Chill The Drug Enforcement Agency isn’t buying into this “medical” stuff. The DEA still lists pot as a Schedule I narcotic (like heroin or methamphetamine). The agency refused to reclassify the drug in July, saying marijuana has no accepted medical value. This year, DEA has conducted dispensary busts and raids in Helena, Montana, West Hollywood and Oakland. Even the Justice Department has backtracked since a 2009 memo that said it wouldn’t pursue medical pot cases. In its latest marijuana memo, the justice department said patients are still safe, but large-scale clubs and growers might not be.
Help Yourself If You Dare Medical grade pot is different from a typical strand you might buy on the levee. It’s extra-loaded with cannabinoids like THC and CBD that give Mary Jane her kick. And unlike most pharmaceuticals, no stethoscope-sporting doctor will limit how much “medicine” you’ll need to alleviate your aches and pains—and help make Family Guy a little funnier. Bear that in mind if you reach for those Herbal Cruz lemon bars sitting in your fridge and start nibbling away…
Running Unregulated While both the county and city of Santa Cruz have ordinances regulating where clubs can and can’t set up shop, neither one has regulations for testing weed. While the County Board of Supervisors has flirted with the possibility of mandating testing for things like pesticides or mites, nothing is on the books yet. Marc Whitehill, who runs the Boulder Creek Collective on Highway 9, has started testing his club’s crops for potency and 13 different pesticides, but he says industry-wide requirements are a long way off.
You Really Don’t Even Need a Card While a credit card-sized piece of plastic with your name on it might help explain to the cops that you’re not doing anything illegal, California law doesn’t require that you carry one. What you’ll need is a referral. Interested patients must be 18 (or have a righteous parent willing to give their consent) and can start with a Google search for something like “medical marijuana evaluations.” Find a doctor from the listings. Show up, walk in, list your symptoms and get a note. The cost of a card is $101 through the County Health Office, which can be reached at 831.454.3431.