As many as 350,000 California residents have a prescription for medicinal marijuana. But only approximately 12,000 applied for the state’s medicinal marijuana ID card.

Participation has been hindered by a variety of factors: the card isn’t mandatory to gain access to the drug, patients are skeptical about providing greater information and access to their lives, and there’s the cost.

At more than $100 each, many people don’t see the need to sign up for the card.

While proponents boast about the benefits to the program, non-participants seem indifferent to the idea of signing up.

From the Contra Costa Times:

A flurry of competing ads touting low-cost medical marijuana evaluations shouts the obvious: California is awash in pot patients. By some estimates, they number as many as 350,000.

Yet only a tiny fraction has signed on to a state ID card program meant to protect them from arrest or seizure of their weed. That doesn’t appear likely to change, say marijuana advocates, patients and some county health officials who administer the program locally. Not when the cost of the cards can’t compete with privately issued cards or even doctors’ recommendations. When the state created the program in 2003 and launched it two years later, officials figured 100,000 patients would sign on for the optional cards. But the state issued just 12,659 to patients and caregivers last fiscal year, the first time virtually the entire state participated in the program after several counties held out over legal challenges.

Read the full article here.