Despite the legalization of marijuana in California, it is still illegal to consume or carry it without a medical marijuana card. This will remain the case until late 2018 when the legislation goes through. Currently, nearly 1.5 million California residents have their hands on a medical marijuana card, which allows them to legally buy, grow and consume weed. It’s a lot easier than you might think to get a CA weed card, but there are still some important things you need to know. In this article, we’re going to walk you through the five most important things you needs to know about having a medical marijuana card in California.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card
The most common question people ask when thinking about getting their first CA weed card is: How do I do it? Well, you might be surprised to find out that you’ve been able to do it in California since 1996. Due to its medicinal benefits, doctors have been able to write recommendations for the use of the drug in treatments, but because marijuana is illegal under federal law, they have not been able to prescribe the drug. These written letters were originally for people who grew their own marijuana, but as weed dispensaries started to pop up after Prop 215 passed, these letters slowly evolved into the modern form of the California medical marijuana card.
These days, you can still go visit your local doctor, who will be able to write a marijuana recommendation letter for you. However, booking an appointment with a physical doctor is both expensive and time-consuming, so instead, we’d recommend using an online doctor who will be able to prescribe a medical marijuana card. It’ll save you a lot of time, money and effort.
Understanding the Qualifying Conditions
As further studies continue to illustrate the medicinal qualities of medical marijuana, this list continues to grow and evolve. Some of the common MMJ card qualifying conditions include:
- Chronic pain
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Seizures, including, but not limited to, those associated with epilepsy
- Severe nausea
However, in California, you’ll also find a stipulation that includes any chronic or persistent medical symptom that limits your ability to perform day-to-day activities. This is because medical marijuana can be used to treat both mental and physical health issues, and this stipulation opens up the treatment of medical marijuana to thousands of conditions.
Navigating Your Local Dispensaries
You need a California ID to be able to get a CA medical marijuana card, but this pocket-sized card won’t be enough when you show up to the dispensary for the first time. Instead, you’ll need a letter from your doctor that has your full name, the date it was given to you and your patient ID number. The letter will also need to be signed by the doctor, embossed with a seal and have the contact details — email or phone — to verify it’s authenticity. You’ll only need to present this to the dispensary the first time you go. From then on, they will have you in the system.
Understanding Legal Limits
Medical marijuana card holders will have a major advantage over non-card holders when weed is legalized in 2018. Currently, those without a medical marijuana card are not allowed to grow any marijuana plants. When Prop 64 kicks in, that will increase to one plant. If you have a CA MMJ card, you are entitled to grow up to six adult plants. Remember, you have to be 21 years old, and some localities forbid the growing of the plants outdoors but allow it indoors. The plants must also be in a secure part of your house or lawn where they are protected from theft.
When it comes to carrying marijuana, the rules aren’t as easily defined. To be safe, you should never carry more than 28.5 grams at a time. This will ensure that you fall under the category of personal use and won’t face any issues as a potential dealer.
Renewing Your Medical Marijuana Card
So many people think that once you get your medical marijuana card, you have it for life. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You’ll be required to get a letter from your doctor every year in order to keep your MMJ card valid. You’ll be able to go through the same channels you originally did to renew the card, but it’s important not to let your card lapse, or you lose all the benefits of having one the day it expires.