Medical marijuana is almost 30 years old in the U.S., and is offered in 22 states and the District of Columbia, even though it is still prohibited (albeit ignored) at the federal level. The vast majority of states issue identification cards and require recipients of medical cannabis to enter their information into a registry. Each state has separate and unique laws regulating the cultivation and purchase of the product as well as the legal amount one is allowed to carry under the medical regulations. As the name indicates, a consultation with a medical or medical health professional is required before obtaining a medical marijuana card and purchasing and consuming legal MMJ (medical marijuana).

States Where it is Possible to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card

Alaska

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Hawaii

Illinois

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Hampshire

Nevada

New Jersey

New Mexico

Oregon

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington

How to Obtain a Card for Medical Cannabis

In all cases, one must visit and speak with a licensed or certified health practitioner. There is typically a fee involved in addition to the regular fees for office visits. Each card is generally issued for one full year, but some states offer shorter periods or longer periods, based on the condition or ailment for which it is prescribed. In all but three states, a physical identification card is required, as well as registration in the database(s) mentioned above. In California and Maine, cards and registration are voluntary, but offer greater legal protection. In the state of Washington, no cards are issued. Instead, a doctor, therapist or other authorized person issues a document stating that marijuana is a  recommended treatment option for certain symptoms and diseases.

The medical conditions that are covered under medical marijuana law vary from state to state, but they include:

  • Various forms of cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Crohn’s and other autoimmune and digestive diseases
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Anxiety and other panic disorders

Finding a Dispensary and Purchasing Medicine

Medicine (marijuana for smoking or vaporizing and other cannabis-based products like edibles, lotions, oils or teas) is available at dispensaries in most cities and towns in states where it is legal to purchase and consume. Finding a dispensary is easy. Most medical offices that offer MMJ cards also make available lists or brochures with locations and addresses of dispensaries in the area. It is also possible to find dispensaries online, and often one can read reviews, check prices and even find specials or deals on products.

With almost half of the states having already legalized and regulated medical marijuana, and some even decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana use, the medical value of cannabis is growing in popularity and validity. It is losing its negative stigma, and as long as it is recommended and monitored by a health professional has shown to benefit the physical and mental health of many individuals.

-Frank Delgado

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