California became the very first state to allow medical marijuana use in 1996 with the passing of Proposition 215 and later built on the initiative by establishing a medical marijuana program with the enactment of Senate Bill 420 in 2003. Because of the two initiatives, patients with qualifying conditions can receive a doctor’s recommendation (commonly referred to as an MMJ “card”) for medical cannabis, which grants them the legal right to purchase and consume marijuana as a treatment for their ailment(s).
In this post, we’ll explain exactly how to get a medical marijuana card in California.
We’ll start by covering the basics of California marijuana law, then dive into the process and requirements for getting a recommendation, and finally, we’ll recommend the easiest and cheapest way to complete your 420 evaluation.
What are the laws and requirements to get a medical card in California?
In California, things aren’t complicated, all you need is a recommendation from a doctor to be able to purchase, possess, and consume medical cannabis legally.
While a recommendation is all you need, a physical medical marijuana card is much more convenient to carry and decreases the chance you’ll face legal ramifications if pulled over by police.
You don’t have to visit any special “420 doctor” either, like all physicians, surgeons, and osteopaths with a license from California’s medical board can recommend cannabis as a treatment option for patients.
And in case you’re worried about whether your condition qualifies you for medical marijuana, you shouldn’t be, as even the co-authors of Prop 215 have been quoted saying the language used in the initiative was deliberately liberal such to allow anyone in California access to cannabis. While the Proposition does list qualifying ailments such as cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain or muscle spasms, glaucoma, arthritis, cachexia, seizures, migraines, and severe nausea, it also permits one to receive their med card for “any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.”
Once armed with your doctor’s recommendation, you’re legally able to purchase cannabis from collectives or co-ops (commonly known as dispensaries) around California, which each currently operate on a non-profit basis. You’re also able to possess “whatever amount of marijuana is necessary for personal medical use,” although it should be noted that specific laws can vary depending on which California county or city you’re in, and the general guidelines state that patients can possess up to 8 ounces and 6 mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants.
Do I Still Need a Doctor’s Recommendation After Prop 64 Made Marijuana Legal?
On November 9, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative (also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act), which aims to regulate and tax the growth, transportation, and sale of marijuana for recreational use.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can just spark up today with no ramifications or stroll into a dispensary and buy any strain off the shelf.
Indeed, you still need a medical marijuana card or recommendation issued by a California doctor at least until recreational dispensary licenses are issued, which aren’t slated to begin until at least late 2017.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California (The Cheap & Easy Way)
Finally, let’s dive into just how you obtain a doctor’s recommendation and MMJ card for medical cannabis.
While you do have the option to consult with your primary care physician or find a medical marijuana doctor nearby who specializes in helping patients get their recommendation, both options can be a bit of a crap-shoot. Most primary care doctors still aren’t willing to issue cannabis recommendations, and even ones that specifically do business for that reason can be found in sketchy locations, charge hefty prices, and can take up to a couple of hours to complete the evaluation process.
The cheapest, quickest, and safest option for becoming a legal marijuana patient is to take advantage instead of California’s telehealth laws, which allow you to legally consult with a doctor over the phone or video-chat to get your recommendation.
Thankfully, innovative companies like NuggMD make the online process more convenient than you could even imagine, and allow you to score a doctor’s recommendation for just $39.
You’re able to complete your marijuana evaluation from any device safely and securely, and once finished speaking with the doctor, you’re issued an instant electronic version of your recommendation that allows you to purchase cannabis from nearby marijuana dispensaries immediately after. Just a few days later, you’ll receive your official paper copy in the mail (sent in discreet packaging with no mention of marijuana), which comes signed and embossed with a raised seal by the doctor himself, granting you full rights as a legal medical marijuana patient.
So what are you waiting for, you have the information and tools you need, get a California medical marijuana card today!