There is growing awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana for a whole range of ailments, including chronic pain, cancer and anxiety. If you’re wanting to explore medical marijuana as an alternative medicine, we’ve got this handy guide that outlines the easiest, most convenient way to apply for your medical card.
Now this isn’t a full-on definitive guide of how to get a medical marijuana card, but we will go over the main points and benefits of getting a MMJ card. Go to Doctor Frank to see a full breakdown of every single state, federal district and territory that has medical marijuana laws and a legal medical marijuana program (MMP) on the books.
In Which States Can You Get a MMJ Card?
Thanks to Doctor Frank , connecting you to a licensed physician in California can be easily done online, from the comfort of your own home. Telehealth is also available in New York, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. The physicians at Doctor Frank’s are licensed to practice in California. The process takes a few minutes and is 100% secure and HIPAA compliant.
Follow these three easy steps:
- Register with your email and enter the waiting room.
- Be seen by a physician within a few minutes.
- Should you qualify, you’ll be able to download your medical marijuana recommendation letter immediately. A hard copy of the recommendation letter will be sent to your address in 2-3 days.
To see how simple it is, watch this video …
What Documents Do I Need to Have to Qualify for a MMJ Card?
As for what documentation you’ll need in order to qualify for a MMJ card …
- Government-/state-issued, photographic identity. This could be a driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID card etc. In California, photographic ID from other states (and even other countries) is acceptable, as long as it’s valid, official and, of course, real!
- Proof of address/residence. This could be a utility bill (not cell/mobile phone), rental or mortgage agreement, bank statements etc.
- In some instances, medical records, letters, evidence etc. may need to be presented - something that documents your condition, basically.
If you’re unsure about whether you qualify and what the rules and regulations are, you can get a full breakdown at Doctor Frank.
Are There Any Benefits in Having a Valid MMJ Card?
Many people are also asking, especially when it comes to states like California and Oregon, “Why should I get a MMJ card now that cannabis is recreationally legal?” Well, there are several good answers to this. One is the obvious: in many states, it’s the only way to legally get a hold of cannabis. At the time of writing, 29 states, 1 federal district and two territories of the United States have legalized medical marijuana and either have or are in the process of setting up a medical marijuana program.
Many states are starting to adopt a similar stance, especially when according to some polls up to 83% of Americans believe people should be able to access medical marijuana. In many states, having a MMJ card and recommendation letter will automatically put you on the state’s medical marijuana identification card program (MMICP) or equivalent programm. In California, registering with the MMICP is voluntary. However, if your application for a medical marijuana recommendation is successful, then you will be on a private, doctor-run registry where your unique patient ID number can be verified. The federal government does not have access to patients on state- or doctor- run registries or medical marijuana programs.
The second is that, even in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, having a medical marijuana card is still perhaps the best way to access cannabis, as dispensaries already deal with medical patients. Judging by other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, shortages are abound and non-medical users have a little bit more difficulty getting a hold of cannabis.
The third reason why getting a MMJ card may prove beneficial is the money saved. Depending upon the state and jurisdiction, those with a valid medical marijuana card may be exempt from sales tax. In some places, this could be a saving of a few percent, in others up to 10-15%. This could prove to be a significant saving. Speaking of savings, how much of your health could be potentially saved by using cannabis instead of highly addictive, opioid-based painkillers, which are cheap to produce but cost so much socially, economically and health-wise?
The fourth reason why a MMJ card may be of use is more of a theoretical one, but it could be argued that medical marijuana patients have more statutes and precedents protecting them from the law, whether it involves cultivation, consumption or possession of cannabis. There are also a greater number of dispensaries and jurisdictions that allow for medical marijuana consumption - “recreational” cannabis is not seen with sympathetic eyes in all places, even in legal states.
The fifth reason is related to the legal aspect, in that some states have reciprocity laws with other states. This means that a medical marijuana patient who’s qualified in one state may be protected by medical marijuana laws in others, e.g. Nevada has reciprocity with every US state. This is by no means the case for every state, but it is true of some.
The sixth and final reason it is beneficial to have a MMJ card is more of a medical one. It is arguable that having a MMJ card gives you access to a greater amount of high-quality, appropriately-tested cannabinoid products, as things like high-dosage edibles and other things a medical patient might need may not be easily or readily available on the recreational market. Having a MMJ card also means that the doctor can keep an eye on your health and ensure that there might not be complications with other medications.
In many ways, this puts medical marijuana patients are the forefront of medical science! This plant and its properties needs more research, and medical marijuana patients are one great way of getting to see cannabis’s true efficacy and potential.
What Medical Conditions Qualify Me for a MMJ Card?
Qualifying conditions can vary widely from state-to-state, and some states are definitely more strict than others, it seems that cancer, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS and glaucoma are qualifying conditions in every state. Many states also have Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), severe/chronic nausea or vomiting, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cachexia/wasting syndrome are also qualifying conditions in many states.
Depression and anxiety are also common conditions for which cannabis may be recommended for. Many states will also allow those in palliative care or given less than 12 months to live access to the MMP, and some have added a line similar to something like “Any condition or illness for which the patient’s physician may recommend cannabis or marijuana.”
Certain states are far more strict than others when it comes to not only getting a recommendation and medical marijuana card, but also when it comes to accessing the state’s MMP as well. California and Maine, for example, have more forgiving laws than, say, Florida, where patients have to get a new recommendation every three months! Waiting times also differ, and in some instances a medical marijuana program hasn’t even been fully set up as of yet (e.g. West Virginia). Costs also vary - getting a recommendation and/or card is cheaper in some places than in others.
How Old Do I Have to Be in Order to Qualify for a MMJ Card?
Age restrictions also apply in all states. The minimum age to qualify for a medical marijuana card and/or recommendation is usually 18 years old, whether as a patient or caregiver. In some instances, the minimum age to qualify as a caretaker is 21 years old. Some states will also allow for a caregiver to apply for a MMJ card on behalf of their child/children, especially if they’re suffering from cancer, epilepsy or some sort of terminal illness where cannabis might potentially help.
So, to sum up: if you’re from California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Montana and Puerto Rico, you can be connect evaluated by a licensed physician online. If you’re from California, you can get a recommendation from a licensed physician online at DoctorFrank.com.
In Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia, you’ll need to make an appointment with your primary care physician in order to qualify for medical marijuana.
Come 2018 and thanks to telehealth, you can use the Doctor Frank platform to get a recommendation letter and/or medical marijuana card to get in touch with a qualified doctor. Getting a medical marijuana card from other states can sometimes be a little more difficult, although some places like California, Maine and Oregon have less restrictive laws and/or more qualifying conditions than other states.
Hopefully, as the federal laws change and the science behind medical marijuana becomes more accepted and undergoes greater scientific evaluation, states’ stances towards cannabis will change. In the meantime, we will do what we can and get the word of medical cannabis out there!