potlede.jpgWith apologies to Kevin Costner (we love us some Postman), Mayor Gavin Newsom is something of a Prince of Fees these days: the dollar-savvy businessmayor has raised fees on just about everything (for the second straight year) to close a humongous budget gap (for the second straight year). But he didn’t touch the fees on one thing.

At SF General Hospital, the fee charged for everything from resuscitation to surgery to exams jumped roughly 10 percent. These fee increases were approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and will go into effect next week.

Exempt from the fee increases, however, are the charges passed onto medical marijuana patients for city-issued ID cards. A regular ID card is still $103; a Medi-Cal patient can get his or her card for $53.

These fees aren’t for a doctor’s recommendation; city-employed physicians don’t provide the physician’s evaluation nor the signing off of a medical marijuana recommendation under the relevant section of the California Health & Safety Code. Rather, the fee just covers the costs associated with processing an ID card: taking a bad photo, putting said photo on plastic.

Why keep medical marijuana fees intact? Cannabis patients are often poor or on fixed incomes; insurance doesn’t cover medical marijuana, while even the likes of Kaiser will help cover an ambulance ride.

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