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Is it California law, OR just industry practice, that marijuana collectives require a member's photo ID issued by the CA DMV?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have had a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana since the year 2000.

Now, out of concerns for my privacy, I decided to let my California drivers license expire. To verify my identify, I am now using my U.S. Passport Card, which functions almost like a passport, is valid for 10 years and is issued by the federal government.

But when I try to enter my local dispensary using my Passport Card as photo ID, they refuse to admit me. The collective's staff claim that "the law"--they don't know which one--forces them to require photo ID issued by the California DMV, to prove California residency.

But nowhere in the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) is California residency nor photo ID required--right? And the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) says photo ID is VOLUNTARY for patients.

Attorney Answers 3


The short answer to your questions is that an actual driver's license is not required to be a lawful member of a medical cannabis collective. Pursuant to the CUA, the MMP, People v. Colvin, and People v. Jackson, all that is required to be a member of a collective is 1) that you are a qualified patient, 2) associated with other qualified patients to collectively or cooperatively cultivate and distribute medical cannabis, and 3) not for profit.

However, each collective can maintain their own rules pertaining to admission and standing within the association. The issue that you are running into is that the collective dispensary that you are attempting to enter is requiring you to present a drivers license. The reason for this is probably to both verify your identity as well as your status as a California resident. These same basis are why most collective dispensaries will probably have a similar requirement.

Functionally, I don't see much of a privacy benefit to you in utilizing a passport card rather than a California Driver's License of I.D. card. You also probably won't get very far arguing with the dispensary operators to grant you admission outside of their general policies. This means that your practical consideration is whether to acquiesce to their demands of having a California ID or find another means of obtaining your medicine regardless of what either the CUA or MMP actually state.

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I use the passport card because, unlike cards issued by the DMV, the passport card doesn't show my address. Police and judgment-creditors can find me using DMV records, if I update my address with the DMV.


If you don't want a driver's license, you can get a California ID card issued by the DMV.

The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.

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The medical marijuana laws do not require you to have a California ID to use marijuana, but they also do not prohibit a dispensary for asking for one to join their group or use their products.
Check the link below, maybe you will be able to find a dispensary that will accept the passport.

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