The Santa Cruz City Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance this past Tuesday that would protect patients with a medical use identification card from prosecution, without requiring they identify the physician who recommended the use of marijuana.
The ordinance states the city will permit buyers cooperatives to cultivate and sell marijuana (not for a profit) to patients and caregivers with a doctor's written recommendation, or if the patient or caregiver possesses an identification card issued by their medical marijuana organization.
The council based the ordinance on a similar law in Oakland. The council used the Santa Cruz Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a medical marijuana collective, as its model.
Besides protecting patients, their caregivers and the clubs, the city council hopes the ordinance will keep doctors safe from criminal prosecution for recommending marijuana.
The ordinance still needs final approval by the council, which is expected in April. The ordinance will take effect 30 days after it is approved.
"Because of the fear of prosecution, many physicians have refused to recommend marijuana," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director. "Santa Cruz has devised a way to protect the identity of the physicians, which should help alleviate the problem."
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500 or WAMM at (831) 423-5413