Do You Still Need A Medical Card In California 2021?

Recreational marijuana has been legal in California for several years now. There are tons of dispensaries at your disposal, and you can even grow your own product. So, do you still need a medical card in California in 2021? The answer is yes! There are still tons of benefits to owning a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, so here’s more info about why you should consider getting one (or renewing your existing one).

How many plants can you grow in California legally with a medical card?

One of the main benefits of an MMJ card is the fact that you can grow more product than you can if you’re just a recreational user. If you’re an MMJ patient, you can cultivate and grow up to six mature cannabis plants, 12 immature plants, and/or a greater amount consistent with what you need to treat your medical condition. This can be done in any 100-square-foot section of your property. Recreational users are only permitted to grow a maximum of six plants (regardless of their maturity level).

There’s also more freedom in growing cannabis plants with an MMJ card. You can grow any specific plants or strains that work well to treat your symptoms, which means you’re not dependent on dispensaries to grow the product that you require. Plus, the best part is that growing your own plants can help you keep your costs as low as possible.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana dispensary
Image by Add Weed on Unsplash: There are tons of legal dispensaries at your disposal if you live in California.

How many legal dispensaries are in California?

The state of California is a great place to live if you require MMJ or recreational cannabis. Currently, there are more than 1,440 legal dispensaries for you to take advantage of all around the state. In fact, there’s a dispensary for every 38.7 million people, making California the state with the eighth highest number of legal dispensaries to serve the population.

Is getting a medical card worth it?

Aside from the number of plants you can grow and the large number of dispensaries at your disposal, getting an MMJ card is also a great idea if you live in the Golden State for other reasons. Here are a few more to convince you:

It can save you money

As mentioned above, you can grow your own plants in order to save money you would otherwise spend at dispensaries with higher prices. But there’s also the fact that patients with MMJ cards have sales taxes waived on their products. Although there might be a retail excise tax and a local tax, you’ll still be saving major dough as a cardholder.

It gives you access to better products

MMJ dispensaries often offer a wider variety of products (such as tinctures, edibles, etc.) than the ones you might find at a recreational dispensary. They can also offer higher-grade strains that can be more helpful in treating your physical or emotional symptoms. More potent products likely mean you’ll get more relief from the MMJ form of cannabis. If you decide to grow your own product, you’ll also have better access to the specific plants and strains that will be the most helpful to you.

You’ll have less restrictions

With an MMJ card, you’re permitted to buy marijuana if you’re 18 years of age or older. Without a card, you have to wait until you’re 21 to purchase cannabis. There are also fewer restrictions regarding how much cannabis you can carry at a time. Recreational users are only allowed to carry one ounce of flower (or eight grams of cannabis concentrates) at any one time. Edibles are also restricted at 10mg of individual doses at a time. With an MMJ card, you’re permitted to buy and carry as much marijuana as you need to help treat your medical condition.

You can grow more product

We already noted this above, but it’s still worth paying attention to. Being able to grow as much cannabis as you need is a huge benefit to owning an MMJ card.

man applying for MMJ card online
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: You can easily apply for an MMJ card in California by going online.

How easy is it to get a medical card in California?

It’s a pretty simple process to get an MMJ card in 2021. First, you must have a medical condition that can qualify you for a card. This can be anything from glaucoma and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer. You’ll need to get a medical professional to verify that you would benefit from using cannabis products. If you don’t have a doctor who can do this for you, you can always use the services of MMJRecs to connect you with someone who can help.

In order to get your card, you’ll need to submit an application to the county you live in. You will need a copy of the medical recommendation, proof of identity (such as your driver’s license or photo ID), and proof of residency (such as a rental or mortgage statement, utility bill, or DMV vehicle registration). You might have to pay a fee depending on the county you live in, but this amount will never total more than $100. The county will then have 30 days to verify your application and five days to issue your official Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC).

Overall, the process to get an MMJ card is relatively easy and can be helpful in saving you money and giving you access to better products. There’s no better time than 2021 to get your MMJ card in California!

Featured image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

The Four Most MMJ Friendly States In America

As it stands in 2018, medical marijuana sits at a distinctive crossroads in American society. Over half of the country has embraced it; 29 states have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes, with the 30th state almost sure to follow this year. Across the remaining 20 states, however, medical marijuana remains a contentious issue. Some are dead set on never leaglazing it at all. The problem is that a medical marijuana initiative would not be a federal law; each state has to make their own laws when it comes to MMJ, hence the wildly varying results and surprising outcomes.

Take New York for instance. Many thought that due to its liberal leanings, New York would be a flagship state for the legalization of MMJ. On the contrary, NY’s initial attempt at medical marijuana was one of the most conservative in the country, coming a full 18 years after California first legalized MMJ in the U.S. in 1996. There have since been concerted efforts to overturn some of the more restrictive legislature, with varying degrees of success. What it does prove is that MMJ law is a tricky subject to get a handle on for many state governments, and it could be a while before we see a U.S. with 50 MMJ friendly states. That doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of the country that are fully pro-medical marijuana; there certainly are. If you’re wondering where exactly they are, then luckily you have to look no further than this handy article!

MMJ Recs - Golden Gate Bridge

Colorado is one of the most progressive MMJ friendly states in the country.

1. California

California places number one on this list of MMJ friendly states, as it was the first to take the leap and legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996. The Compassionate Use Act, or Proposition 215, was a revolutionary piece of legislature that paved the way for future states to lay their own groundwork. In the 22 years since it pioneered MMJ law, California’s enthusiasm for the treatment has not waned. Recently, the state passed a law that aimed to legalize recreational marijuana from the beginning of 2018. While some thought that the introduction of this legislature might make medical marijuana obsolete in California, in fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true. The government reaffirmed its commitment to its MMJ program by introducing a sales tax rebate for all medical marijuana patients or holders of a medical marijuana card. As recreational marijuana is slowly introduced into the Sunshine State, it looks as though MMJ will remain as strong as ever.

2. Colorado

Colorado was hot on California’s heels, and was one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana in the country; their legislature passed in 2000. Most marijuana advocates will recognise Colorado as the pioneer of recreational marijuana legalization, however. The state took that previously unheard-of initiative back in 2012. It makes sense that a state that has been committed to medical marijuana since the early days was also keen to legalize recreational marijuana, and like California, their initiatives go hand-in-hand. When it comes to MMJ, however, the Colorado market is startlingly robust, based on over seventeen years of experience. The MMJ industry is worth around $450 million to the state, so it’s no surprise that they’re keeping it in tip-top shape.

3. Washington

Colorado is often thought of as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana and is often seen as the poster state for the cause. However, Washington was equally pioneering, and legalized at exactly the same time as Colorado in 2012, paving the way for recreational marijuana laws to be loosened across the country. In fact, Washington is AHEAD of Colorado when it comes to medical marijuana. The state passed Initiative 692 in November 1998, just two short years after California trailblazed the initiative. The list of Washington’s qualifying conditions is also pretty extensive, making medical marijuana available to all sorts of patients who may be able to benefit from the medicine. Through the years Washington has seen extensive amendments to their medical marijuana bill, and in 2018, it proudly stands as one of the most inclusive and progressive MMJ friendly states in the country.

MMJ Recs - Maine Coastline

Maine has been committed to advancing its MMJ policies.

4. Maine

Maine might seem like an odd entry on this list, but it’s certainly doing its part to progress the MMJ cause. Medical marijuana became legal in 1999 (so even before Colorado), but under very strict regulations. This rules were relaxed significantly in 2005 with the passing of Question 5, which aimed to explicitly establish a Maine Medical Marijuana Act. Since then, the state has gone from strength to strength when it comes to MMJ; the most recent example of this advocation came just at the beginning of this year, when the state’s health care body approved progressive new legislature. These new remits will see an increase in the number of dispensary licenses across the state, while also loosening requirements under which medical marijuana can be used.

The above MMJ friendly states are shining examples of progressive medical marijuana treatment, but they are by no means the only states doing great work to advocate the cause. Hopefully their leadership on this important cause can inspire other states to investigate legalizing MMJ in their own territories.

Why All California MMJ Patients Should Renew Their Medical Marijuana Card

Thinking since marijuana is legal in California you don’t need to renew your medical marijuana card? Think again! There are still a ton of benefits you can get if you renew your cannabis card in 2018. Check out the many reasons listed below to find out why you should hang onto your California MMJ card this year.

Saves you money

The most important benefit to having an MMJ card is your ability to save lots of money. If you want to make sure you’re keeping all of your cannabis costs low, make sure to renew your medical marijuana card instead of just purchasing products for recreational use. Once you have an MMJ card in your possession (it’s a super simple application process), you can pay a reasonable fee (between $25 and $40) to renew your card annually. This one-time yearly fee is quickly offset by the other savings you’ll see add up from using your cannabis card. One way to get major savings is the ability MMJ card holders have to skip paying sales tax on all cannabis products. Anyone with an MMJ card avoids a 15% sales tax – which can end up saving you major bucks. Additionally, consumers who are purchasing only recreational products can pay anywhere from 14% to 20% more on their purchases than those buying medical marijuana products.

You can also find savings when you shop at medical marijuana dispensaries. These specific stores usually offer a wider variety of products than recreational ones, so you can shop for products that fit within your budget. Additionally, there are often added opportunities for savings with things like rewards programs and discounts for referring other customers. Even if you don’t want to head out to a dispensary, having an MMJ card means you can grow more of your own product, so you can keep your overall purchasing costs low.

Keeping your medical marijuana card can help you save a lot of cash.

Access to better products

Although marijuana is now legal in California, having an MMJ card means you’ll have better access to higher quality cannabis products than if you were just purchasing for recreational use. Medical marijuana dispensaries often offer a wider variety of products (including edibles) and usually offer higher-grade strains with different THC:CBD ratios – which means you’ll be getting products that are more potent and are more likely to effectively treat your symptoms. If you decide to grow your own plants, you also have the opportunity to grow specific strains (and higher-quality products) that are right for your own individual needs.

Fewer restrictions

If you already have an MMJ card, you know that there are fewer restrictions than if you’re purchasing products solely for recreational use. For example, with a California MMJ card, you can purchase medical marijuana as long as you are 18 years or older. Without a cannabis card, you have to wait until you’re 21 years old to purchase cannabis products. For individuals with health issues who can’t wait until they’re 21 to purchase marijuana, having an MMJ card can be hugely beneficial.

There are also less regulations enforced for those carrying an MMJ card. Recreational users are only permitted to carry one ounce of flower (or eight grams of cannabis concentrates) at one time. Being able to carry edibles is also restricted for recreational users, who can only carry 10mg of individual doses at a time. However, with a cannabis card, you are able to buy and carry as much cannabis as your medical condition requires.

Just make sure to keep your MMJ card with you at all times, so you don’t face any issues if you’re out carrying or buying marijuana products.

There are far fewer restrictions for those who hold MMJ cards in California.

Can grow more product

Another helpful benefit of renewing your medical marijuana card is the ability to grow more of your own plants. While recreational users are only permitted to grow six mature marijuana plants on their property at any one time, cannabis card holders can grow an unlimited amount in any 100-square-foot section of their property. Not only can you grow more product (which can help keep your costs low), you can also grow the specific plants and strains that are appropriate for your medical condition and symptoms. This additional freedom means you won’t be stuck buying dispensary products that don’t fit your particular needs. Growing your own plants can also reduce your overall costs of purchasing products at a dispensary (who sometimes mark up their products).

Even though marijuana is now legal in California, there are tons of reasons you should renew your MMJ card immediately. Your cannabis card helps you save money and get the exact products you need to treat your symptoms – all with less regulations! So, renew your cannabis card now and get all of the many benefits that come with it!

How to Make Sure You’re Not Confused for a Recreational Marijuana User

thanks to the introduction of Proposition 64. California has long been a pioneer in the usage of marijuana, from medical marijuana legalization in 1996 until today, so this move came as little surprise to anyone. As the Sunshine State continues to present itself as a beacon of progression in these tumultuous times, some MMJ card carriers are worried about getting confused for recreational marijuana users.

Though most recreational users are absolutely respectful in their consumption of the plant, there are some long-standing prejudices against those who consume cannabis for non-medical reasons. Antiquated stereotypes of the anti-social pot smoker have unfortunately prevailed throughout America, even in the face of fast moving legalization of marijuana use across the country. Unfortunately, there is little that recreational users can do to dispel this stereotype, apart from being their usual respectful selves. However, medical marijuana users can do one very important thing to strongly identify themselves as such.

The only way for you to make sure you’re not confused for a recreational marijuana user is to get an official California medical marijuana card. This card is not only your passport to being afforded exclusive rights and privileges associated with MMJ card ownership, but it will also show dispensary staff, doctors, and police that you’re not a recreational marijuana user, and that your need to consume the plant is more important than simply to have a good time.

A California medical marijuana card is small and compact, meaning it’s handy to be carried wherever you go – we recommend that you always keep it in your wallet. There is no point in keeping your MMJ card at home as you’ll get no use out of it there. If you get stopped by the police and have an unlawful amount of marijuana on you for a recreational user, you’ll need to have your MMJ card ready to present to the officer to prove your innocence. Likewise, when you’re in the dispensary, you won’t be afforded the perks of having a cannabis card if you don’t have the card in question with you. As recreational marijuana use has just been legalized in California, budtenders and police officers will allow no leeway when it comes to excusing you for not carrying your MMJ card.

Don’t get caught out without an MMJ card – jump online today to acquire one!

Now that you realise how important it is to acquire an official California medical marijuana card, here’s the step-by-step process you take to get one. Thankfully, getting an MMJ card is really easy and can be done online from the comfort of your own home. Being able to get one remotely is very important to some MMJ card carriers, as they can find themselves homebound due to their illness.

Once you have opened the MMJ Recs webpage and chosen what plan you want to go with, you’ll be asked to complete a short and uninvasive questionnaire about your ailment. It should only take you a few minutes to fill out this questionnaire.

After you fill out the questionnaire, you’ll be connected to a state-licensed doctor through our HIPAA telemedicine platform. All of the doctors completing online consultations for us are state-licensed, as these are the only people who can give a California medical marijuana card recommendation. Once you’re connected, you’ll begin your online consultation with the physician. The doctor will give you a full medical evaluation in order to determine your suitability for the MMJ card program. This evaluation will consist of a series of questions about your medical history, your ailment, and your need to get an MMJ card. The consultation is quick and invasive and should last no longer than 20 minutes.

If the MMJ Recs doctor thinks that you’re a suitable candidate for a California medical marijuana card, they’ll inform you there and then and you’ll be emailed your MMJ recommendation straight away. This recommendation can be used immediately at a Californian medical marijuana dispensary. The original embossed recommendation will be posted to you within two working days. When this arrives you can use it to apply for your state-issued MMJ card from the California Department of Public Health.

Your card affords you important benefits that you just won’t get as a merely recreational user.

Not only will owning an MMJ card differentiate you from recreational users, it will also allow you to avail of certain perks and privileges that are only afforded to MMJ card carriers. Though everyone can now buy marijuana in the state of California, medical marijuana card carriers will be exempt from paying retail sales tax at the point of purchase. This can add up to a massive saving for a consistent, long term medical marijuana user. As well as being exempt from the dreaded sales tax, you’ll be able to be in possession of much higher quantities of marijuana that your recreational counterparts. Under the new law, recreational marijuana users will only be allowed to possess up to 1oz. of the plant, whereby MMJ card carriers can be in possession of up to 8oz. These are only some of the many benefits of always having your medical marijuana card close to hand.

Now you know that the only way to make sure you’re not confused for a recreational marijuana user is to carry an official California medical marijuana card. If you have a need for medical marijuana, but don’t yet have an MMJ card, get in touch with us today and we’ll start you off on your medical marijuana journey.

If You Don’t Have An MMJ Card, You’ll Have To Pay Sales Tax When Marijuana Is Legalized In 2018

Thanks to the impending introduction of Proposition 64, the Sunshine State will soon see the statewide legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. Though this is a truly joyous and progressive event for the state, it has left some MMJ card holders scratching their heads with the question: “Do I still need to keep my cannabis card if it’ll be freely available for all?” The answer is yes, absolutely!

The primary reason for this is because qualified patients who possess a legitimate California medical marijuana card will be exempt from retail tax when purchasing marijuana or marijuana products. This is on the condition that they – or their primary caregiver – present their MMJ card at the point of purchase. If you’re a consistent, long term medical marijuana user, this will save you a lot of money compared to paying recreational prices.

As many people with an MMJ card are limited in their ability to work, this is a huge relief as it means these users will see more money in their back pocket at the end of the day. Though some recreational users may deem this unfair, it is important to keep the lines between recreational and medical users clearly delineated to clearly indicate one group’s need for it taking precedence over the other’s.

If you own a California medical marijuana card, you can save yourself some money on sales tax.

Not only will your California medical marijuana card allow you to buy cheaper cannabis, it’ll also allow you to buy more of it than your recreational counterparts. MMJ card carriers will be allowed to possess a whopping 8 oz. of the cannabis plant, whereas recreational users will only be allowed to possess 1 oz. As well as this, unconventional methods of consuming cannabis like tinctures and topicals can be purchased at much stronger concentrations by those with an MMJ card as opposed to those who don’t have one.

Another good reason not to throw away your trusty California medical marijuana card is that you’ll still be able to consume in public places while carrying it, whereas recreational users won’t. Proposition 64 does not explicitly allow for recreational users to smoke or vape weed in public, but if you have your MMJ card on you, you’ll still be able to consume wherever the smoking of tobacco is allowed.

As a prerequisite for having a cannabis card is having a specifically diagnosed ailment, it’s important that you consult with a doctor before you start to consume. If you decide to forego an MMJ card in favor of just acquiring recreational marijuana instead, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to talk through your ailment with a medically qualified doctor, and more importantly, you can’t talk to that same doctor about what strains are best for treating your specific ailment. Though dispensary budtenders might know a bit about what strains are best for relaxing, they will not have the same medical knowledge of the plant, and therefore will not be sufficiently qualified to give you strain advice. This could lead you to fruitlessly trying out strain after strain until maybe you’ll get it right. Avoid the headache and stick to the medical route.

Hold onto your card so you can still utilize its benefits in 2018!

As different cities and counties within California will be allowing different types of sales, you may find yourself in an area that is still only permitting medical marijuana sales – another reason to keep your MMJ card! These more conservative counties will only allow weed sales through medical dispensaries. These dispensaries will strictly only have medical licenses and therefore will only be able to serve marijuana to those with a valid California medical marijuana card.

If you’d like to avail of tax-free medical marijuana once legalization is enforced, here’s what you have to do. Though you can go to a bricks-and-mortar doctor’s office to get a card, it’s a whole lot easier to buy a medical marijuana card online through MMJ Recs.

You’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire about your ailment and your need for an MMJ card. Once this is done, you’ll begin your online consultation with one of our licensed health professionals, who’ll give you a full evaluation over Skype from the comfort of your own home.

This evaluation will take no longer than ten minutes and will consist of the practitioner asking you some non-invasive questions about your qualifying condition and your medical history. You’ll also be asked why you think having an MMJ card and consuming medical cannabis will help you. Following this, the practitioner will assess your need for a medical marijuana card and you’ll be told then and there if you’re eligible. If you are, you’ll be sent your MMJ card recommendation straight away.

We hope this has cleared up a few worries for you. Now you know that it is positively, absolutely, conclusively a bad idea to get rid of your California medical marijuana card once legalization is implemented. If you’re still unsure about your options, or you’re yet to get your own MMJ card, get in touch with us today and we’ll help access all the amazing benefits that come with owning your own medical marijuana card.

Why California MMJ Patients Will Save Thousands Of Dollars A Year In Sales Tax With An MMJ Card

The stigma attached to marijuana is beginning to fade as more and more people experience the benefits this controversial herb has to offer. For instance, it can act as a pain reliever by relaxing and controlling muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis, it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well as control epileptic seizures and treat glaucoma. The list goes on, and if you feel you could benefit from medical marijuana yourself and you’re lucky enough to live in one to the 29 states in the US that have legalized it, it’s time to go to your doctor for an MMJ card.

The process in obtaining a medical marijuana recommendation is straightforward and doing so means that you will be able to go to dispensaries for advice and obtain medical marijuana for your health issues. The reason behind getting an MMJ card is because under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, therefore a recommendation from your doctor or physician is required in order to prove that you need the medicine to treat your condition. Your doctor must be licensed to recommend medical marijuana and they will firstly discuss with you whether this will be the best treatment to help you if you suffer from illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, or chronic pain. Once it has been decided, they will then be able to provide a written and signed certification. Next, the patient must register with the department of health in their state and medical marijuana program unit. Upon registration with your photo ID, you will then receive your MMJ card, which provides various benefits.

MMJ - flowering marijuana plant

Medical marijuana has many benefits for those suffering from chronic illness or pain.

One of the advantages of holding a MMJ card is that you will be able to grow your own plant (up to six!). In addition to this, you are allowed to carry a larger amount compared to somebody without a recommendation, and you won’t face any problems as a potential dealer if you run into law enforcers. Furthermore, come January 2018, the legalization of recreational marijuana is to come in place. What does this mean for people using marijuana for medical purposes though? It is advised to still have your MMJ card with you for convenience, as the new regulations will not be fully operational immediately. More importantly, an even better reason to keep hold of your MMJ card is due to the potential of saving a good amount of money in terms of sales tax. A number of places charge additional tax on recreational marijuana, whereas sales tax is exempt on marijuana products such as edibles, concentrates, and topical treatments. This means when you take into account the average cost of cannabis, the cost of application, renewal, doctor’s appointment and MMJ card, you can save some sweet cash if you’re using at least around four ounces per year (approximately $238 annually). Moreover, in California, the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program offers a tax discount to card holders who have a recommendation.

As of January 1st 2018, the laws are set to change as the legalization of recreational marijuana takes place, but given the benefits of having a recommendation, it is a good idea to have an MMJ card – especially if you feel you need cannabis for health purposes as opposed to recreational purposes.

MMJ Recs - Joint

If you have an MMJ card in California, you can save money in sales tax.

Overall, not only are there a number of proven benefits to using marijuana to treat various ailments and conditions from depression to cancer, but obtaining a medical marijuana card through your doctor or medical practitioner could ultimately help you save money on tax. Being in possession of an MMJ card also means you can carry more medical cannabis compared to a recreational user and you will have access to different forms of the medicine such as tinctures, vaporizers, sprays, and patches. You will also have the advantage of having access to professional advice from either your doctor or from people who work at the dispensaries as opposed to a budtender.

If you’re looking to try medical marijuana to help with your health issues, the best way is to get a recommendation from a medical professional as it meets the requirements of the various regulations, but additionally, it will help you save money on sales tax. It is worth noting, however, that in the New Year 2018, tax compliance among medical marijuana businesses may increase as California’s legalization of recreational use of cannabis takes place. Nonetheless, having an MMJ card not only gives you extra options as there are over 3000 dispensaries that sell medical cannabis in California, but you will also have access to a wider variety of products. Also, you do not have to travel to a doctor to get a recommendation if you have access to telemedicine, because then everything can be done online. But one of the bigger advantages here has to be the fact that you will be saving a lot of money given the tax benefits compared to somebody without an MMJ card.

Marijuana Sales Tax: How California MMJ Card Holders Can Save Money After January 1st

Interested in saving money the next time you purchase your medical marijuana? As long as you have an MMJ card, you can skip that pesky California sales tax on MMJ and get your product for much cheaper costs. Here is the information you need to help you decide whether getting a medical marijuana card is worth it to you.

Here’s what you need to know

Starting January 1st, marijuana will be legalized in the state of California. Although there is some confusion about exactly how this new law will be implemented and how it will affect the marijuana business as a whole, there is one thing we know for certain: those with a medical marijuana card won’t have to pay retail sales tax on their purchases of medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products, and topical cannabis. As long as you can present your valid Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) from the California Department of Public Health, you’ll be able to avoid paying the California sales tax on MMJ. If you don’t have a cannabis card, you’ll pay the standard 15% tax on all of your cannabis products, which can definitely start draining your wallet.

If you’re one of the 1.5 million people in California with an MMJ card, you can buy, grow, and consume marijuana products legally. These products can be used to help fight symptoms of a huge variety of conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, cancer, migraines, and seizures. Because there’s a stipulation that any condition that prevents you from performing your day-to-day activities qualifies, there are thousands of conditions that can be cited as why medical marijuana would work as a treatment option for you.

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Plant

If you hold a medical marijuana card in California, you’ll be exempt from paying sales tax.

What your costs could be

It can be difficult to determine what your overall out-of-pocket expenses will be when you purchase your medical marijuana products. According to some websites, average cannabis prices in California are usually around $250 per ounce for high-quality marijuana or about $200 for mid-quality product. However, if you want to obtain a medical marijuana card to skip paying taxes, you could apply for a card for around $66 (or around $33 for individuals on Medi-Cal). These fees can vary between counties, but they won’t exceed $100 for the whole application process (or $50 for those enrolled in Medi-Cal). It costs between $25-$40 to renew your card every year, and it will be anywhere between $45-$150 for the doctor’s visit (or you can find a doctor who can prescribe an MMJ card online, so you don’t even have to make a trip to the office). The card is valid for exactly one year when you have to go through the process of renewing it by applying again. Even with the costs of getting a cannabis card, you could still save a significant amount of money by getting a card and not paying California sales tax on marijuana products.

With the legalization of marijuana in California, there will definitely be many changes taking place. It’s possible that dispensaries will start having two separate rooms: one for recreational users and one for individuals with a medical marijuana card. If you don’t have a card and head into the recreational room, you will have to pay that dreaded sales tax.

How much you could save with an MMJ card

Let’s break down how much you could possibly save with an MMJ card. Overall, those individuals purchasing with a cannabis card pay less; it’s cheaper and you can purchase more than others without a card even once it’s legalized. For example, MMJ card holders are allowed to purchase eight ounces versus just one ounce for those without a cannabis card. If you do spend a significant amount on your medical marijuana supply during the whole year, you’re more likely to see generous savings with a MMJ card than without one.

MMJ - medical cannabis

Be smart when you purchase your MMJ – use your card and save money!

If you spend around $250 on product, without a cannabis card, you’d be charged a 15% sales tax of $37.50. Even if the card costs you at the most $100 to get (there’s a cap, so you won’t spend more than this on the actual card), you’d be earning back that cost very quickly. That’s pretty significant savings, especially if you purchase product frequently. Another example would be if you buy 1/8th of marijuana (or 3.5 grams), you would probably pay around $50 with your cannabis card. Whereas, if you don’t have a card, starting in 2018, 1/8th could cost you as much as $90. That’s a huge difference!

Additionally, you should keep in mind that there could be slight increases in the actual cost of the products in 2018 because cultivators still have to incur costs from production. This added cost would apply to both recreational and medical marijuana users. On the other hand, there are also some people who believe that marijuana becoming legalized will create a surplus of products that can only be sold to California residents or visitors to the state. If this surplus does occur, prices could actually be reduced slightly.

The bottom line

While figuring out your exact costs while being a medical marijuana card holder, make sure you do your research and see how the current California medical marijuana requirements apply to your specific circumstances. Then, you can figure out how to use this information to avoid sales tax and limit your spending.

Will the MMJ Revolution Spread to Non-MMJ States?

The medical marijuana revolution is well and truly upon America. It started with a trickle, and little by little grew into a full-on flood; in 2017, 29 states are MMJ legal, and many more look set to follow over the coming months and years. The medical marijuana cause is bolstered by the increased acceptance of recreational marijuana in certain parts of the country. It stands to reason that if people are being allowed personal use, patients in need of its therapeutic benefits become impossible to deny. Although they are two separate strands of the same essential argument, MMJ stands to gain the most ground as the debate continues across America.

So where did MMJ start? Well, basically, medical marijuana has been around for a long time, and it wasn’t always considered an illegal substance. American medical journals dating all the way back from the late 18th century recommend using hemp seeds and roots for medicinal practices. 1914 was the first time the substance was criminalized, and any gains made in the subsequent decades were derailed by the Reagan in the 1970s, when he came down hard on drugs. Since that time, however, the trend has shifted towards relaxation. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and by 2009, twelve more states had followed its lead. Fast forward to 2017, and 29 states have gone green for medical cannabis, as well as the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. West Virginia is the latest state to join the revolution, with the remaining 21 still to follow.

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Will medical cannabis be made legal in all 50 states?

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though. 1996 to 2017 is 21 years, which is a long time to cover just over half the country. Judging by those statistics, we can estimate that all 50 states will be MMJ legal by 2038, which seems a crazy amount of time to wait for what is tried and tested medical care. Also, while California pioneered the medicine with little resistance, and had some of the most liberal MMJ law in the country, the same rules don’t apply in every state.

A surprising battle was fought in the traditionally liberal stronghold of New York, for instance. The Governor there, Andrew Cuomo, has long held a conservative stance on medical cannabis, and was hesitant to bring in a blanket MMJ law such as California’s without curtailing it with some limiting caveats. The debate took up most of 2014, and although the MMJ law eventually passed, it was not without some seriously restrictive measures. One of the biggest issues is that New York does not allow patients to smoke medical marijuana, which is proven to be the most effective method of administering the medicine. There is also a heavy restriction on the amount of dispensaries that can sell MMJ, which limits the amount of patients that can be served at any one time.

Upon its legalization, there were also very few qualifying conditions in the New York bill. Qualifying conditions are important, because the more specific they are, the more doctors are limited (by law) in who they can administer the medicine to. At the advent of the bill in NY, only severe conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s, and ALS were approved to be treated by MMJ. This is problematic because one of the conditions that most benefits from the drug is ‘chronic pain’, which can occur separate from any named disease. This also lets doctors be much freer about who they can prescribe too. After much campaigning, ‘chronic pain’ was added to the list of New York MMJ qualifying conditions, but the MMJ cause in the East Coast state is still on very thin ice, with some maintaining that it has been designed to fail from the start.

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MMJ laws differ significantly from state to state.

New York is just one example of a state where MMJ law has had (and continues to have) birthing problems. Unfortunately, not every state agrees with the core tenets of MMJ practice, and so there are wildly varying caveats to each state’s bill. The federal government can’t  make one definitive ruling on MMJ law, so until then, we’re stuck with going on a state-by-state basis, with all the red tape and bureaucratic back-and-forth that entails.

Another debilitating factor is that many of the hardline conservative states such as Alabama are proving to be a very tough sell indeed when it comes to MMJ. ‘Legalizing drugs’ in even the vaguest sense (even if it benefited sick people) would seemingly represent a major corruption of values. Though marijuana possession has been gradually decriminalized in Alabama, those in the know suggest that it will likely be one of the last states to make medical cannabis legal. Ultimately, it’s a matter of time and waiting, however frustrating that may be. The MMJ revolution will eventually spread to all 50 states of the U.S.A.; but how long it takes to do that is currently anyone’s guess.

Will California Always Be the Biggest MMJ State?

California is a trendsetter in many ways. It’s a center for entertainment and culture in the US, it’s full of the latest advances in technology and it has a massive start-up culture. Its weather is fantastic, the agricultural landscape is active and thriving and there exists the most liberal and exciting medical marijuana laws in the country.

California was the first state in the US to legislate for medical marijuana. Patients had been using marijuana for medical reasons illegally for a long time, and anecdotal evidence suggested that it provided excellent results for people suffering from a wide variety of different conditions.

History of Medical Marijuana Laws in California

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Many medical marijuana professionals in California supported Proposition 215 because they had seen good results for patients with conditions like cancer, HIV and AIDS.

Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was passed by 55.6% in 1996, which allowed for the use of marijuana for medical reasons for numerous conditions. The Yes campaign was spearheaded by marijuana activists from San Francisco who had noticed that marijuana had helped many suffering from HIV/AIDS in the gay community.

As well as anecdotal evidence from users of medical marijuana, many medical professionals also publicly supported Proposition 215, stating that they had also seen good results for patients suffering from conditions like cancer, which was far less stigmatized than HIV/AIDS at the time.

After the passing of Proposition 215, California was the first state to have legislated for medical marijuana. This presented problems at a federal level, as marijuana was and still is, considered a controlled and illegal substance. California held strong on its right to legislate for treatment for its citizens and the program has run successfully since 1996, inspiring other states to bring in legislation for medical marijuana.

However, there have been some DEA raids on dispensaries and farms in California, and the Supreme Court has ruled twice that federal law can overrule state law in some instances.

Despite some opposition from federal sources, patients have been happily accessing medical marijuana in California since 1996, and it is clearly the capital of medical marijuana usage in the United States.

Accessing MMJ in California

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Accessing MMJ in California is much easier than in other states because there are many more medical cannabis dispensaries and open laws.

As well as its early adoption, it is also very easy to access MMJ in California. The first step is to organize a visit with a medical professional who can assert your need for medical marijuana. This does not have to be in person and you can actually do a consultation online. The medical professional will ask you about your condition and suggest ways to treat it with medical marijuana.

If you are deemed a suitable candidate, you will be sent a stamped, dated and signed letter, which you will be able to bring to any dispensary to avail of any form or strain of medical marijuana that you think will be able to help you.

Upon visiting your local dispensary, you will be able to speak to the people working there, who will be able to help point you in the right direction for the best treatments for you. There are many different forms of medical marijuana, as well as different strains. Strains contain varying levels of THC and PCP, which offer different types of relief – depending on your condition.

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Choosing the right medical marijuana strain will offer different types of relief and effects, depending on your condition.

You can choose to buy joints to smoke, edibles like candies or baked goods, lotions and salves to rub into your skin, tinctures, vape liquids… amongst many other forms of MMJ. The only limit is your imagination!

Medical Marijuana Conditions in California

California is also notable with its liberal medical marijuana laws for not placing limits on the conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. In other states, such as New York, there is  a strictly regulated list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana, but this does not exist in California, which is great for citizens of the state.

Evidence suggests that there are a variety of conditions, both physical and mental, that can be successfully treated with medical marijuana. These include epilepsy, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease – amongst many others.

For many patients, the fear of being rejected for medical marijuana treatment can be a big deterrent for seeking treatment, as well as the stigma of using marijuana for medical reasons. Due to the proliferation of medical marijuana in California, as well as its place in the state for over twenty years, these issues do not seem to affect patients in the Golden State.

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California continues to not only be a beautiful state to live in, but also the top state for medical marijuana use.

California is rightly lauded as a mecca for patients who need medical marijuana and has served as an inspiration for many states that have followed in its steps. Many patients have actually relocated to California for the sole reason of seeking treatment that they cannot access in more conservative states.

Californians are lucky to be able to access this treatment that should be available to all citizens, but the battle continues on at other state levels and federal levels to provide medical marijuana to all residents of the United States.

What California MMJ Patients Think of New York’s New Medical Cannabis Legislation

Twenty nine states across the U.S. have now legalized medical marijuana, although the strictures of each respective legislation differ wildly. Although MMJ has been legal in at least one state in America since 1996, it still remains a contentious topic among local governments – a contention which becomes apparent with even a cursory glance at the various bills and acts which inform the legality of the medicine across the country. In fact, you don’t even have to look at all the bills; you can look at just two, a comparison which comprises the opposite coasts of the country.

California have always been way ahead of the curve when it comes to medical marijuana. They were the first state to introduce MMJ, way back in 1996, and their loose, liberal approach has informed the way many states approach the controversial subject. It took a further two years for any other state to get MMJ legislature through their respective senates.

Though it wasn’t the first state to introduce recreational marijuana (that was Colorado and Washington simultaneously in 2012), Cali has long been seen as a marijuana advocate stronghold, and followed through with their recreational legalization in November 2016, concurrent with the U.S. presidential election.

Californians Have a Leg Up When It Comes to MMJ

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One benefit Californians have over New Yorkers when it comes to medical cannabis: patients aren’t required to get a state ID card or an MMJ card.

MMJ patients in California have it pretty good. Their 1996 bill, Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, still holds up in 2017, despite some vague wording at the time of its issue. There are a whole host of qualifying conditions, not just serious ones, and the list includes the all-important qualifier ‘chronic pain’, which covers many different forms of debilitation, without needing the doctors to diagnose a specific illness before prescribing.

In fact, the law goes one step further, and qualifies any debilitating illness where the use of MMJ has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician”. This gives doctors a lot of free rein to prescribe to their patients, without worrying if their treatment plan is in danger of breaking state law.

There are also no possession limits specified by Prop. 215, and home cultivation of the medicine is permitted. However, patients could find themselves in hot water if they grew amounts of marijuana that were obviously excessive to their needs; to clear up this situation, the government added an amendment to the original bill in 2016, which declared that a patient may cultivate up to 100 square feet of marijuana, while primary caregivers with five or fewer patients can cultivate up to 500 square feet.

Most importantly, patients in California are not required to get a state ID card or a MMJ card. They’re both optional, but residents of the state can avail of medical marijuana freely without either of them.

Medical Cannabis Laws in New York

All that freedom stands in stark contrast to New York’s take on the matter of MMJ. Californian patients would think that NY’s legislation was extremely conservative; and they’d be right. The usually-liberal leaning New York shocked MMJ advocates up and down the country in 2014, when it introduced one of the most restrictive medical marijuana bills in the U.S. Initially, it was seen as an extremely conservative step, but a necessary one, given that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been vocally anti-marijuana (in any form) in the past. Looking at the legislature, it reads almost opposite to California’s bill of eighteen years previous, although of course, they are broadly the same piece of law.

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New York’s medical marijuana legislation is pretty much the exact opposite of California’s 1996 MMJ bill.

Initially, New York had a small list of severe diseases under its qualifying conditions. These included cancer, AIDS, ALS, MS and Parkinson’s, although crucially did not include the all important ‘chronic pain’ clause that California’s law has. Since last year, after pressure from MMJ advocates, this has since been rectified, and ‘chronic pain’ is now a fully fledged, MMJ-legal condition in New York.

A second part of the bill that shocked Californians, and has yet to be rectified, is the prohibition on smoking the medicine. Smoking has long been known as the most potent and effect method to consume marijuana; when it comes to medical cases, it’s important that patients give the medicine the best chance it can to work. Unfortunately, under Governor Cuomo, smoking MMJ was considered too much of a risk, and not included in the bill.

Other restricting factors include absolutely no cultivation permitted, and a limit on how many dispensaries can operate in the state at a time (only twenty). This again is in stark contrast to the West Coast, where patients could be sure of picking up their medicine locally and easily.

Looking to New York, patients in California would be shocked to learn that there is only one dispensary for every 27,000 square kilometers of the state. This makes access hard, and also crucially makes it more troublesome for critically ill patients to get the treatment they need.

Although things are changing in New York, they’re still a long way off the liberal leanings of California’s law. Observing the happenings on the East Coast, MMJ patients in Cali are no doubt thanking their lucky stars that they live where they do; conversely, NY patients have got a fight on their hands to bring their legislature up to California’s gold standard.

Is New York Going to Overtake California as the Leading MMJ State?

As legal medical marijuana becomes more and more widespread in the United States, the particular ways each state is handling the introduction of the medicine are slowly becoming apparent. There are currently 29 legal MMJ states in the country, across the country from California to New York, and all of them approach the subject a little differently to the last.

While advocates continue to fight the good fight to get the medicine legalized in all 50 states, it’s going to be a long road; so it can be instructive to take a look at how the respective programs of the legalized states have shaped up so far.

California: A Trailblazer for Medical Cannabis

The trailblazer state for MMJ is undoubtedly California, who legalized the drug over twenty years ago in 1996. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, passed by a narrow 55%, and allowed people suffering from cancer, AIDS, arthritis and other chronic ailments the avail of medical marijuana.

Although the proposition was criticized at the time for its vague wording, it was hailed as a major breakthrough by the medical profession, who could now legally recommend MMJ to their patients. From then, California has gone from strength to strength, and has become the guiding beacon for the legalization of both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

California has long been seen as a leading liberal state, as has its counterpart on the opposite coast, New York. America’s largest city has a long history of liberal leanings, and most expected them to carry through with the advent of MMJ. However, that was surprisingly not the case.

New York vs. California MMJ Laws

Quite the opposite occurred actually; when New York finally legalized medical marijuana in 2014, a full eighteen years after California, it was in the form of a shockingly restrictive and conservative bill. One of the sticking points of the new legislation came from Governor Andrew Cuomo, a long-standing anti-marijuana advocate, who insisted that the medicine should not be legalized in smokable form.

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California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, which is vastly different to the MMJ laws in New York.

This greatly limits the potency of MMJ, which is most effective and fast-acting when smoked. In addition, only a small number of diseases, many of them severe, would qualify a patient for MMJ treatment in New York; the 2014 bill didn’t include the blanker term ‘chronic pain’, which critically limits both who doctors can prescribe to, and on what grounds.

In fact, New York doctors themselves had to think very carefully before prescribing the drug. If they were found to be working outside the tight parameters of Cuomo’s bill, they could find themselves breaking federal law.

As it stood upon introduction, New York’s MMJ laws stood in stark contrast to California’s liberal leanings. California allows medical marijuana to be taken in any form, and also includes a wide range of qualifying conditions, which sharply outguns New York’s restrictive measures.

Medical Marijuana Laws: Times They are a Changin’

Things have been changing recently though, and advocates in New York have been applying pressure in order to loosen the conservative bill. These changes, however, bring it nowhere near California’s MMJ legacy; and the problem starts with supply and demand.

It’s hard to walk down any given street in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or indeed any major Californian city, without happening across an MMJ dispensary. Over twenty years of legal medical marijuana have given California an unprecedented head start in terms of cultivation, and the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Over on the East coast however, things are a little different. Currently, New York’s 2014 bill only allows for five cultivation companies to legally operate in the state, with a maximum of twenty dispensaries (or one every 2,700km). This was initially crippling to the growth of MMJ; though the Department of Health has since recognized its limitations, and doubled the amount of cultivation companies to ten, in a bill passed late last year.

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One good piece of news is that as of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment for MMJ in New York.

There are also continuing and persistent calls for changing the qualifying conditions in New York, some of which have not gone unheeded. As of March this year, chronic pain was added as a qualifying ailment, after it was announced in December 2016. This opens up a whole new world for medical marijuana in New York, making it accessible for many more people for whom it could prove a major benefit. Despite the early aggressiveness of the 2014 bill, signs are good that the Department of Health are loosening their reins and are looking to put New York on the MMJ map.

However, these new measures simply don’t measure up to California’s lax legislation. In fact, the Sunshine State has gone one step further and legalized recreational marijuana, another bold step in the slowly but surely progressing acceptance of the drug. Although it’s making bold strides, and is certainly heading in there right direction, New York still has a long way to go to make up the ground gained by California.

Until NY, the supposed liberal bastion of the Eastern seaboard, severely loosens its laws, Cali will remain the king of MMJ states. But who knows what the lay of the land will look like five years from now. Until then, patients will on both sides of the country will have to continue fighting the good fight, and advocating the plethora of benefits MMJ provides.