Patients may wish to use marijuana as an alternative medicine to alleviate and treat their diagnosed illnesses, diseases, injuries, or chronic pain. In states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, patients can essentially obtain a prescription allowing them to use cannabis without breaking any state laws. Patients are approved through a medical marijuana application process requiring a medical marijuana recommendation, evaluation by a medical doctor, and registration with the state medical cannabis card registry.
The process of applying for a medical marijuana card can be extremely confusing and frustrating for a lot of people, but it’s a necessary process to go through if you want to avoid being subjected to harsh civil and criminal penalties. If you do your research or ask for guidance from a medical professional or advocacy group, it will be easier to navigate the process and get the help you need. Although there are different requirements for each state that has legalized medical marijuana, there are several steps that will be required no matter where you live.
Learn the Rules and Regulations Governing the Application Process
Before applying for a medical marijuana card, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations governing the application process in your state. As of 2018, thirty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana for patients who suffer from qualifying illnesses, diseases, debilitating conditions, or chronic pain syndromes. Medical marijuana is legal in the following states plus the District of Columbia:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
Each state that has legalized marijuana for medicinal use has its own set of laws governing the application process. Thus, it is important for you to know how to obtain a medical marijuana card for the state in which you plan on applying, and not some other state, as the rules and regulations may be different.
Obtain Your Medical Records
You may apply for a medical marijuana card if your doctor as diagnosed you with an illness, disease, or injury listed under the qualifying medical conditions set by the Department of Health Services in your state of residence. Most states require you to provide proof that you have a qualifying condition. In some cases, you might need to obtain medical documentation such as medical records or a physician’s statement recommending the use of medical marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of your medical condition.
Obtain a Doctor’s Recommendation
You will need a doctor’s recommendation to obtain a medical marijuana card. For most people, this is the most difficult step. Even in states that have legalized medical marijuana, some doctors refuse to prescribe it. They may have moral reasons, the may choose not to believe the scientific evidence showing cannabis provides relief, they may have personal qualms about mixing medications, or they may feel unqualified to write the prescription.
Provide Proof of Residency
In most states, only residents are eligible for medical marijuana cards. Thus, you will need proof of state residency, like a driver’s license or passport, to qualify for a medical marijuana card. If you don’t already have some form of identification, then you cannot move forward with the application process until you have obtained a valid government-issued ID.
Medical marijuana cards are only valid for a specified period, usually up to one year. It is important to know when your card will expire. Once your medical marijuana card expires, then you must renew it through the same application process as when you originally applied. The process includes verifying that your medical documentation is still valid, meaning you may be required to provide your medical records and doctor’s recommendation for the renewal application.
Completing these five simple steps may save you a lot of future headaches. If medical marijuana helps manage or treat your medical condition, then it is important to apply for a medical card to shield yourself from any legal problems regarding both use and possession of cannabis.