A sample medical marijuana card from the Arkansas Department of Health.

On my first trip to a medical marijuana dispensary, an employee there encouraged me to laminate my medical marijuana card because the dispensary had already seen cards with the identifying numbers rubbed off, rendering them useless. But when I called a Health Department hotline, the person I spoke with told me I couldn’t laminate. What gives?

Bud Greene

As of May 16, the Arkansas Department of Health has issued 12,090 medical marijuana ID cards to Arkansas residents who meet one of the 18 qualifying conditions for the drug. After complaints from cardholders about the quality of the paper the cards are printed on, the state has said there is no prohibition on laminating the cards.

The cards, printed on a lightweight coated paper stock, cost $50 each. If the identifying numbers on the back of a card rub off, BioTrackTHC, the patient and product tracking system the dispensaries are required by the state to use, won’t be able to read the card.

Bud told us when he called the health department to check if laminating the cards was allowed, he was told it wasn’t because it might prevent scanners from reading the scan code on the back of the card. But Meg Mirivel, public information director for the Department of Health office, said there’s no prohibition on laminating the cards.

Mirivel also said the ADH is working on improving the printing of the cards “so the type does not rub off as easily,” but it has no definitive fix yet.