Permits to grow more than 25 medical marijuana plants won’t be available from the Sheriff’s Office after the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors abolished them, but the county still offers the state’s medical marijuana ID cards, according to Public Health officials.

The permits offered an exemption to the county’s 25-plants-per-parcel limit that allowed collectives to grow up to 99 plants per parcel, as long as they applied for a permit through the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and followed a list of rules in the county’s cultivation ordinance.

“Marijuana is here to stay,” said Sgt. Randy Johnson, who oversaw the permit program at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

“We were making some serious, positive progress for the county’s welfare and safety.”

He issued 91 permits last year, each of which cost upwards of $1,000 and came with a requirement to buy a $25 zip tie for each plant to show it was grown in compliance with state and local law.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday canceled the year-old permit program after Melinda Haag of the U.S. Attorney’s Office met with county officials Jan. 3 and threatened to file an injunction against Mendocino County’s cultivation ordinance and to “individually go after county officials” who supported it, 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg said.

The county removed the exemption and the permitting program from its cultivation ordinance, and the shrunken ordinance is due for a second reading Feb. 14. It would be effective 30 days after that, effectively cutting off the permits — which are good for a year — for the 2012 growing season.

The program had generated about $500,000 for the Sheriff’s Office, including sales of the zip ties growers were required to purchase to get the permit.

The Sheriff’s Office still sells zip ties for $25 apiece.

The board’s decision to cut off its permit program doesn’t affect the state ID card program, however.

The Mendocino County Public Health Services division administers the state-approved program, which is voluntary and identifies a cardholder as a person protected under the provisions of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop. 215) and Senate Bill 420.

The division has issued 2,613 medical marijuana ID cards since the program began locally in May 2005. The division issues an average of 247 new and renewed cards annually.

The cards cost $180, or $90 for patients covered by Medi-Cal.

Anyone who wants a card is asked to make an appointment to apply in person, and bring a signed, original recommendation (California Department of Public Health form or a doctor’s Certificate of Recommendation).

To qualify, patients should live in the county where they are applying and show a driver’s license, state-issued ID card or other government-issued ID Card.

Applicants should also show proof of residency in the form of a rent or mortgage receipt, a utility bill, or vehicle registration that shows a physical address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

A photo of the applicant will be taken at the in-person appointment that will appear on the medical marijuana ID Card.

After the appointment, the county Public Health Services division contacts the doctor who issued the recommendation to verify it. The state then mails the ID card to the patient. The cards are valid for one year.

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News Hawk – 420 Warrior 420 MAGAZINE
Location: Mendocino County, CA
Source: The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Tiffany Revelle
Contact: www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/contact-us
Copyright: © 2011 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Website: www.ukiahdailyjournal.com