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How a Medical Marijuana Card Can Provide Legal Access to Cannabis

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While marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, 29 states and Washington, DC, allow individuals with qualifying conditions to purchase cannabis. This is referred to as medical marijuana, which contains compounds like CBD and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that have multiple benefits without the intoxication associated with smoked marijuana.

Obtaining a medicinal marijuana card grants you access to licensed shops. Depending on your state, you may also grow plants at home for personal use.

What is a Medical Marijuana Card?

A medical marijuana card is proof that you have been diagnosed with one of the state’s approved conditions and should be able to use cannabis as part of your treatment plan. The patient certification must come from a physician registered with the State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program and qualified to treat your condition.

If you’re under 18, your doctor will have to provide a second certification from another physician who is also registered to certify patients for cannabis. If you are under 18 and can’t provide a legal guardian or parent, the OCM (Office of Cannabis Management) may approve an individual as your caregiver.

Once your doctor signs the patient certification, you can submit it online or at a dispensary to register for an MMUR identification card. One of the benefits of a medical marijuana card is that the card will allow you to purchase up to a 30-day supply of cannabis at participating dispensaries. If you’re traveling, be sure to bring your MMUR card along with your medical records and a photo ID. You’ll need to bring your medicinal cannabis in a sealed, labeled container that cannot be opened or smelled by others.

Be aware that if you are traveling out of the country, it’s illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, regardless of whether your home state has reciprocity with the place you are visiting. 

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

To get a medical marijuana card, patients must have a valid driver’s license or state ID and a physician certification. A patient must schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider registered to issue cannabis recommendations, such as a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or dentist.

During the appointment, the healthcare professional will review the patient’s qualifying conditions and determine whether or not medical marijuana could help manage those symptoms. The healthcare professional will then complete a patient certification and submit it to the state. Once approved, the state will send the patient a registry identification card.

Patients can also choose to have a designated caregiver, who is registered, purchase and cultivate cannabis on their behalf. Caregivers must be over 18 and have a valid state-issued driver’s license or state ID.

Medical marijuana cards are good for 12 months, but they must be renewed to avoid a lapse in coverage. To renew, a patient must return to the healthcare professional that issued their recommendation or visit a registered telemedicine cannabis healthcare provider. The state maintains a list of practitioners that consent to issue cannabis recommendations by county and an online telemedicine directory.

How to Renew a Medical Marijuana Card

A medical marijuana card entitles a patient to buy cannabis from state-licensed shops. It also lets patients possess more significant amounts of cannabis and products that contain higher levels of THC than non-cardholders, such as edibles and vape cartridges. In some states, cards can even allow for the cultivation of cannabis at home for personal use. However, it is essential to keep up with changes in medical marijuana laws and products to ensure that your card will remain valid.

When your registration expires, you’ll need to follow the steps for renewing a medical marijuana card in your state to continue buying and using cannabis. This process varies by state, but many have online forms that make the process easy. You’ll also likely need to visit your certifying doctor for an evaluation. These visits can cost money, so you’ll want to consider those costs when making your application.

When submitting your renewal application, be sure to do so within forty-five days of expiration. This will help prevent a lapse in access to your medication and allow you to avoid potential legal complications. You’ll also want to renew your doctor’s certification to confirm that you still qualify for a medical marijuana card. You may also be required to provide a new photo.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

Getting a medical marijuana card begins with discussing cannabis options with your primary care physician. Your doctor will determine whether or not cannabis can help alleviate your symptoms, and if so, will write you a recommendation.

Once you have your doctor’s recommendation, it’s time to enroll in your state’s program. The process varies from state to state, but most require registering online. You’ll need to provide your physician’s certification and other personal information, including your name, address, and date of birth. Some states also require you to pay a registration fee. Many patients use the medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis at dispensaries or to grow plants at home if allowed by law. A medical marijuana card permits you to purchase higher-potency strains and larger quantities of cannabis than you would be able to without one. It also gives you legal access to use edibles, oils, vape pens, and other forms of cannabis.

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