On Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003, outgoing California Governor Grey Davis signed into law SB 420, the "medical marijuana task force" bill introduced by state Senator John Vasconcellos. The bill, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "will create an ID card for medical marijuana users to show law enforcement officers. The measure is designed so police can sort out legitimate users from those taking advantage of the law for recreational use."
California's Legislative Counsel's Digest describes the bill as follows:
"This bill would require the state Department of Health Services to establish and maintain a voluntary program for the issuance of identification cards to qualified patients and would establish procedures under which qualified patients with an identification card may use marijuana for medical purposes. The bill would specify the department's duties in this regard, including developing related protocols and forms, and establishing application and renewal fees for the program.
The bill would impose various duties upon county health departments relating to the issuance of identification cards, thus creating a state-mandated local program.
The bill would create various crimes related to the identification card program, thus imposing a state-mandated local program.
The bill would authorize the [state] Attorney General to set forth and clarify details concerning possession and cultivation limits, and other regulations, as specified. The bill would also authorize the Attorney General to recommend modifications to the possession or cultivation limits set forth in the bill. The bill would require the Attorney General to develop and adopt guidelines to ensure the security and nondiversion of marijuana grown for medical use, as specified."
The bill also notes that a qualified patient ("a person who is entitled to the protections of Section 11362.5 [Proposition 215], but who does not have an identification card issued pursuant to this article") is not required to obtain a state identification card, and that the program is voluntary.
The bill defines those "serious medical conditions" that qualify one for an identification card as follows:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
Seizures, including, but not limited to, seizures associated with epilepsy.
Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either:
Substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one or more major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336).
If not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient's safety or physical or mental health.