Compassionate Use Act of 1996
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. The Act made the medical use of marijuana legal in California. Senate Bill 420 (SB 420) was passed in 2002 to assist law enforcement in identifying Californians who were protected by Proposition 215 and to provide patients and their caregivers with a form of identification that would protect them against arrest and prosecution.
The Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) was established by the California Department of Health Services in 2004 to facilitate the registration of qualified patients and their caregivers, through a statewide identification system. Participation in the program is voluntary for patients and the patients primary caregiver. Qualified patients and their caregivers may apply for and be issued an identification card through their county of residence. This card can be used to verify that a patient has authorization to possess, grow, transport and/or use medical marijuana in California, and that a caregiver has authorization to possess, grow, and/or transport medical marijuana in California.
The Merced County Medical Marijuana Identification (MMIC) Program provides patients with the State medical marijuana identification card. The card can assist law enforcement officers to check a state data system and verify if a medical marijuana ID card is valid and identify if the individual using the marijuana meets the requirements of the Compassionate Use Act.
Applications for an ID Card
The Merced County Department of Public Health's (MCDPH) processes applications for Medical Marijuana Identification Cards (MMIC).
A written application must be submitted in person to the MCDPH. After an application is approved, an ID card will be issued by the California Department of Health Services and sent to the local health department. The ID card will then be provided to the qualified patient and approved designated primary caregivers.
This ID card is valid for one year from the date of application approval. A renewal application is required every year. Participation in the program by qualified patients is voluntary. You must make an appointment to apply.