Unlike most other states where medicinal marijuana is legal, California has no mandatory registration of patients who have been approved to use and/or grow pot. As a matter of fact only three of the sixteen states who have patient marijuana laws have no mandatory registration. California does have a medical-marijuana database, which requires counties, such as Santa Clara, to issue marijuana ID cards to those patients deemed eligible. The current voluntary database shows just over 9,000 active medical marijuana users.
However, Assemblywomen Nora Campos of San Jose is introducing legislation that would make it mandatory for all eligible patients to register and indicate to the state and county, whether they intend to use, grow or buy from a collective and in such case to specifically name the collective. The purpose of the law would be to add a level of protection to marijuana patients from law enforcement who often make arrests and confiscate marijuana from people otherwise authorized to possess and use.
Backers of the proposed law also argue that Federal authorities would have a clearer count of the marijuana consumer base and would be less likely to continue crackdowns on local dispensaries and cannabis clubs, as they have in San Jose and the Bay Area the past year.
Detractors of the legislation say that it does not pass legal muster, as the people of California voted by referendum to make medical marijuana legal, which only requires a doctor's recommendation to qualify patients.
Nevertheless, some legal advocates are arguing whether registering with a database is mandatory or voluntary, every medical marijuana patient should make himself or herself available of it. Unfortunately some doctors are issuing medical cards that do not carry the legal weight of a county issued card.
Adding extra levels of protection for valid patients is of course a good thing; but people in a democratic society should always be cautious, sometimes in the extreme, of databases and registries. History has shown that this is sometimes the path to a loss of rights and not a guarantee to them.