If you suffer from a chronic condition and are living in California, the chances are that someone, either a medical professional or someone close to you, has recommended medical marijuana as a feasible treatment option. MMJ can assist with the symptoms of many illnesses, both physical and mental, including insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, anorexia nervosa, cancer and migraines. Although it can be odd to try something that has long held a social stigma of being an illegal drug, the truth is that California is a great place to be if you need medical marijuana. However, it’s important to know exactly what the law is and what your California medical pot card will allow you to do.
How Do You Get a Medical Pot Card?
First, it’s important to have proper medical guidance when beginning your medical pot journey. Have an open and honest conversation with your doctor about the symptoms you think could be alleviated by medical marijuana. A professional’s advice is invaluable, so speak to them, and they can help you manage your expectations of what medical marijuana will be able to do for you. It doesn’t have to be your family doctor. A registered doctor, osteopath or surgeon can be the person who helps you in your journey for relief.
If you’re nervous about having the conversation in person, you can use an online medical evaluation to get the necessary paperwork to obtain your medical pot card. Doctors are unable to officially prescribe marijuana, even though it’s legal in California, as it’s still illegal at a federal level. They must write you an official recommendation on professional letterhead featuring their contact information. People often refer to a pot card, but the reality is that it’s the letter that you need to secure your medical marijuana. However, for patients’ convenience, most online evaluation services will also provide you with a small, physical card in addition to the letter so you can keep it in your wallet for future use when you visit the dispensary. Don’t forget that you’ll need to get your medical marijuana letter renewed annually!
Sadly, for the rest of the U.S., California medical marijuana privileges are only extended to California residents. You will need to produce a legal form of California ID, such as a driver’s license, to secure your medical marijuana letter. If you want a state-provided card, you’ll also need to provide proof of residence, such as a lease or utility bill, as well as the official form filled out with the letter from your doctor and the relevant fee. A state-provided card might be a better option for patients who want a legal document in relation to their MMJ use, although the letter provided by your practitioner outlining your condition is usually sufficient for most dispensaries.
What Can You Do with A Medical Pot Card?
Now that you have your medical pot card, what do you do? Well, you can either grow your own MMJ, which has positives and negatives, or if that feels like too much of a commitment, you can go to one of the numerous medical pot dispensaries in the state of California. It’s important to make sure you take care of your card because you’ll need it every time you go to the dispensary to pick up your medicine.
Dispensaries can be intimidating places for those who aren’t used to them, but it’s important to remember that they’re there to serve a function, much like a pharmacy. The people who work at dispensaries are often incredibly passionate about medical marijuana and its benefits, so if you’re a newbie to the world of MMJ, they can serve as your advisors or spirit guides. Ask questions about the right strains for you and the conditions and symptoms you need treated. You’d be shocked at the different types of MMJ out there!
If you’re feeling brave, you can cultivate your own medical marijuana. It’s important to read up on the legalities of growing your own. The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which is the law governing MMJ, is strict in relation to the amount that patients or caregivers can grow. Technically, you can have the amount that you need to treat your medical condition, though this is clearly a gray area and up for debate. The act does state that you can grow up to 100 square feet of cannabis plants for personal use or up to 500 square feet if you’re a caregiver to five or fewer patients. If you’re going to take the step of growing your own, it’s important to make sure you’re very familiar with the law to ensure you don’t inadvertently break it.
Once you’ve made the step of getting your own medical pot card and you’ve experienced the relief it can offer, you’ll never look back. Don’t be afraid or worried because if you’re lucky enough to be Californian, the state backs your right to seek the best treatment for you.