How To Get A Medical Marijuana ID Card In California
The new year ushers in a whole new marijuana paradigm for the residents of California. The medical marijuana program has been around for quite a while now, but this year, all adults 21 and over will have access to legal weed. It’s a big step for Californian-kind, but where does the new law leave those with a medical marijuana ID card (MMIC)?
We hear you - why should you even need to be a medical marijuana patient in a state that offers legal weed to everyone? The answer is simple. Having your MMIC gives you access to a complete range of benefits that regular consumers won’t have. It does make a difference to be considered a legal medical marijuana patient in the state of California. For those of you who are already registered medical marijuana patients, don’t get rid of your card just yet. After all, who knows what Jeff Sessions is going to pull next. If you haven’t yet acquired a MMIC, here’s how and why you should consider doing it.
How does medical marijuana fit into the new legislation?
Many Californians think that the introduction of a legal adult use policy means no need for a medical marijuana program - but that isn’t true. The new legislation does refer to the medical marijuana program and how it is affected by the changes. The new statutes are written in Section 5 of the Health and Safety Code: Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes.
It limits the cost of the medical marijuana ID card to $100 per card, and if you are registered with Medi-Cal, the maximum is $50 per card. The fee is waived for those who are indigent.
The point most medical marijuana cardholders will be interested in is this one: those with a valid MMIC will be exempt from retail sales tax on medical marijuana and all medical marijuana products (concentrates, edibles, and topicals).
All MMIC cards will be issued by the California Department of Public Health and will continue the medical marijuana patient registry.
So why become a registered medical marijuana patient?
Now that we know how medical marijuana is affected by new recreational laws, the question still stands: why bother getting a MMIC? All adults over the age of 21 now have access to cannabis in the state of California, however, the privileges that a medical marijuana ID card holder in California will have that recreational buyers will not are abundant:
We’re going to reiterate this one because it’s important. No sales tax. The new laws mean that recreational marijuana users will be subject to new taxation laws while those holding a medical marijuana card will be exempt from those taxes. MMIC = cheaper weed!
By law, medical marijuana patients are also allowed to carry more weed than recreational buyers. Regular cannabis users are allowed 1 ounce, whereas medical marijuana users are allowed up to 8 ounces. This also protects medical marijuana id card holders from laws that penalize possession. In fact, if your doctor recommends it, you are even allowed to have more than 8 ounces as a medical patient.
Your parental rights will be protected. That means that you can’t lose custody of your children based on being a marijuana user alone if you hold an MMIC.
Being a medical marijuana patient gives you more freedom to grow your own pot. It’s different from one jurisdiction to another, but in general, there’s more leeway to cultivate marijuana if you hold an MMIC versus being a recreational user.
And here’s the money: if you’re between 18 and 21 and have an MMIC, you’re legally allowed to purchase marijuana. Under the adult use policy, only those age 21 and over can purchase, but having a medical marijuana ID card in California helps you bypass that rule.
So far, it’s pretty simple: cheaper weed, softer laws and legal protection against all the things that can come back to bite you in the butt. Now, how do you get a marijuana ID card?
How to get a medical marijuana card in California
First things first - you need to be a resident of California. You also need to qualify for a medical condition that can be helped with marijuana. That means you must have one of the illnesses listed, by law, that is medically treatable with marijuana. Some conditions include glaucoma, anorexia, cancer, seizures, chronic pain, migraines and severe nausea. However, this list is not definitive, and if your doctor recommends weed for your condition, you’re basically in. The doctor almost always holds the discretion as to whether you qualify to be a medical marijuana patient.
Once you have the ok from your doctor, they will give you a recommendation. There is an entire range of services now available for you to apply for a medical marijuana card online, so you don’t physically have to go and see your doctor. Through an online medical marijuana application, you’ll receive your doctor’s recommendation in the mail.
Once you’ve got your medical marijuana recommendation, it’s time to fill out a Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal form. This is submitted, along with your recommendation, to the California county in which you live. This, unfortunately, can’t be done online and must be done in person. You’ll need with you:
- Your doctor’s recommendation
- Proof of identity (such as a driver’s license or government-issued photo ID)
- Proof of residence in California (mortgage agreement or utility bill, for example)
- The Benjamins to pay for your card (up to $100)
All that’s required after that is for a photograph to be taken for your medical marijuana ID card. Once your application is submitted, it can take up to 30 days to be processed. You will usually be sent your card in the mail or you can pick it up from the county that you applied at.
It’s that easy! Just by visiting a doctor (in person or even better, online) and filling out a couple of forms, you can become eligible for a medical marijuana card. Just because the law states you can use marijuana recreationally, doesn’t make it the best choice for everybody. So, consider whether being a medical user is a better option for you and enjoy the benefits of being a medical marijuana patient in California!
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