NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

ID Cards For Legal Marijuana Users

May 24, 1999

On Friday, Oregon became the first state to issue identification cards to patients who are allowed to use marijuana to alleviate the pain of their illnesses.

  • Under a medical marijuana law enacted by Oregon voters last fall, patients with cancer, AIDS and HIV, glaucoma, seizures, spasms, nausea and severe pain may use small amounts of marijuana with their doctor's recommendation.
  • States with similar laws include California, Alaska, Arizona and Washington.
  • Possession and sale of marijuana remain federal crimes, although they are rarely enforced for medical users.
  • Alaska is also expected to begin processing ID cards in June.

The laminated cards are valid for a year and are intended to make it easier for state and local officials to know who is qualified to use marijuana under the law.

Source: Patrick McMahon, "Ore., Alaska Identify Legal Marijuana Users on State-Issued Cards," USA Today, May 24, 1999.


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