While federal law prohibits the use of cannabis, medicinal marijuana programs have been rapidly expanding within the United States and internationally. A medical marijuana card, issued by your state, is your ticket to cannabis’s healing properties (also known as a cannabis card or weed card).
As of this past July (2019), 33 states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana. With the passing of the Medicinal Use of Marijuana Initiative in 1996, California became the first state to allow medical marijuana. Since then, states that have passed legislation to allow medicinal cannabis have imposed a wide variety of rules on the industry.
While each state has its own set of regulations for acquiring a medical marijuana card, familiarizing yourself with at least some of the steps involved will help you determine whether you want to pursue this option. Let me give you a quick rundown:
An explanation of the card allowing legal access to medical marijuana.
When a patient gets a medical marijuana card, they are legally allowed to buy cannabis products from a dispensary to alleviate the symptoms of their disease. In many cases, dispensaries will not let people in who are not patients in without a valid medical identification card.
Proof of medical necessity is required in certain jurisdictions for patients to legally use medical marijuana delivery services or cultivate a small number of plants for personal use. Patients may be able to designate a caregiver under state law to assist them with all aspects of medicinal marijuana use.
Many state health departments oversee and manage medicinal cannabis programs. These state agencies oversee not just the applications of patients but also the production and sale of medicinal marijuana and the applications of caregivers.
Many states have different laws regarding the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Patients in places like Colorado and California, where medical marijuana is legal, have access to a broad variety of products, while others like Texas, where marijuana is illegal, have more stringent regulations in place. Some states only permit medicinal cannabis derivatives, while others mandate that patients have tried all other available therapeutic options before medical marijuana may be recommended.
Is It Worth It to Apply? The Benefits and Drawbacks of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card
Numerous benefits come with obtaining a medical cannabis license in states that have a medicinal marijuana program but no recreational market. Unlike the marijuana sold on the black market, medicinal marijuana has to pass stringent tests for contaminants like mold and pesticides before it can be supplied to patients. Patients may locate the most helpful strains and treatments with the use of a medical marijuana card, which allows them access to a greater variety of cannabis products correctly labeled with the quantity of THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids.
In a jurisdiction where cannabis is legal for recreational use, however, patients may wonder whether it’s worthwhile to apply for a medical marijuana card and pay the associated price. Knowing the advantages of having a medical marijuana license is helpful in a state where people may legally buy cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes.
A medicinal marijuana certificate in a recreational state may not be the best idea for many reasons. Patients over the age of 21 may lawfully acquire cannabis without a medical marijuana card if the application cost and wait period associated with the approval procedure are prohibitive. It’s possible that some individuals won’t want their information recorded in a register for persons who use medicinal marijuana. Although marijuana has been legalized in many places, there is still a stigma attached to it that might prevent some people from becoming patients.
But even if those things weren’t taken into account, there are still many advantages to having a medical marijuana certificate. Those things are:
Both the doctor and the budtender at the dispensary can assist patients choose which items will be most effective in relieving their symptoms.
In jurisdictions where adult-use cannabis is legal, those with a medical marijuana license have access to stronger products that aren’t authorized for general sale.
Many times, you might get a discount or tax break on medical supplies.
Individuals with a valid medical ID may be eligible to use restricted delivery services catering specifically to the medical community.
Medical marijuana facilities often accept patients who are 18 years or older, while adult-use programs typically need consumers to be 21 years or older. In certain states, kids under the age of 18 who potentially benefit from medicinal marijuana can apply for a card with parental or legal guardian permission.
How to Apply for a Marijuana Card for Medical Use.
While each state has its own set of regulations regarding medical marijuana cards, most of them have a very standard application and approval process. Every state has its own list of qualifying illnesses that a patient must have been diagnosed with in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card, therefore this is the first place to look.
To apply for a medical marijuana card in California, you must first determine whether or not your disease meets the state’s criteria for qualified patients. Both the physician and the patient need to agree that medicinal cannabis has therapeutic potential.
Even if occasional medicinal marijuana usage for very mild conditions may not need a card, there are still advantages to having one.
The next step is to submit an application for a medical marijuana card to the state agency in charge of the program, either online or through mail. It’s common practice for states to request payment from applicants before processing their requests for medicinal marijuana cards. Applying for a medical insurance card may include a charge. If you are experiencing unusually high expenses or a serious health problem, you may be eligible for a waiver in your state; thus, you should research your state’s application requirements.
With a medical marijuana card, how much weed can you buy?
It’s up to the each state to determine how much medicinal cannabis a patient may lawfully buy and possess. The quantity of marijuana that may be bought from a dispensary at one time is often capped at some point. Patients are only allowed to have a particular quantity of flower or other cannabis products at any one time.
Even as a person seeking medical treatment, you should be aware of these restrictions and how they vary from state to state. For instance, in Montana a certified medical marijuana patient may only have 1 ounce (or 28.35 grams) of cannabis flower, whereas in Delaware that number might go as high as 6 ounces (or 170 grams).
The same method need to be considered while growing at home. Some states’ medical marijuana programs allow for the home production of marijuana by registered patients or caregivers, whereas other states, such as New York and New Jersey, do not have such legislation in place.
Is the cost of medical marijuana lower than that of recreational use?
While both medicinal and recreational cannabis prices vary by state, in most cases, medical marijuana is less expensive than its recreational counterpart. Medical marijuana in the state of Colorado, for instance, is subject to a 2.9% sales tax whereas retail marijuana carries a 15% sales tax (not adding potential local taxes).
Can I Use My California Medical Marijuana Card in Another State?
Non-residents with valid medical marijuana cards may legally buy cannabis in a number of states where medicinal cannabis is permitted because to reciprocity rules. If your state participates in a system called “reciprocity,” where residents of other states may legally get and use medicinal marijuana, you’ll need to apply to that state’s medical marijuana program.
If you are a medical marijuana patient in your home state and you plan to visit Hawaii, you may apply for a Hawaii 329 Registration card so that you can take part in the medicinal cannabis program in the Aloha State. But you can’t just go up to a dispensary on Maui with your out-of-state cannabis card and expect to be served. Customers interested in getting medical treatment in Hawaii must be registered for a disease that is on the state’s approved list and must submit an application at least 60 days before their planned visit.