Medical Marijuana Cards And Your Privacy: Are MMJ Cards Confidential?

Medical marijuana (MMJ) programs are continuing to improve and expand across the country. The majority of US states now have some form of MMJ treatment available to their citizens, and each year new states are joining the medical marijuana revolution and implementing their own MMJ programs.

States such as Oklahoma, which were once skeptical about MMJ, are now reaping the rewards that come with having a liberal, well-run MMJ program. Medical marijuana has massive medicinal value and provides enormous improvements to the quality of life of MMJ patients. MMJ is also big business and MMJ-friendly states are enjoying big economic benefits.

While medical marijuana is legal in most states, it is not yet legal at the federal level. So it is understandable that MMJ patients have concerns and questions about confidentiality. Are medical marijuana cards confidential? Does having a medical card show up on a federal background check? Can my employer find out I have a medical card? Does having a medical card go on your record?

Let’s find out the answers to these questions and discuss all you need to know about medical marijuana cards and your privacy.

MMJRecs - MMJ in hand
Image by StayRegular on Pixabay: Are MMJ cards confidential? For the most part, yes.

MMJ Is An Essential Medical Treatment For Millions Of Americans

While marijuana is now legal for recreational use in an ever-increasing number of states, it is crucial to remember that medical marijuana is an essential medical treatment for millions of Americans.

Medical marijuana treatment is not an exotic luxury for MMJ patients. It is a necessary treatment that enables them to experience a massively improved quality of life.

Medical Marijuana Cards And Your Privacy

Because medical marijuana treatment is an essential medical intervention for millions of Americans, privacy is a crucial issue. A person’s medical situation and history is their own business, and there are laws in place that protect the privacy and confidentiality of people’s medical records.

The main law that protects peoples’ personal health information is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA prevents protected medical information from showing up on a background check.

Are MMJ Cards Confidential?

Medical marijuana cards are an integral part of many people’s health and wellness arsenal. Most MMJ card holders rely on their MMJ to get through the day relatively pain-free and to live a normal life. For this reason, medical marijuana cards are confidential in the large majority of cases, apart from certain specific scenarios related to employment.

Normally, only you, your doctor, your dispensary, and any other people you choose to tell will know you are an MMJ patient. However, certain jobs will want to know if you use medical marijuana because they have a legally protected policy of not hiring MMJ patients.

Do Employers Have To Know About Medical Marijuana Cards?

States laws differ on the question of whether an employer has to know about an employee’s MMJ card. Most jobs will have no requirement for employees to provide information about MMJ treatment. In the majority of jobs, the only stipulation will be that the employee not dose at work to the extent that they cannot fulfill their job.

However, most states have a list of jobs that are considered “safety-sensitive” and these jobs can have a “no MMJ” policy. Safety-sensitive jobs include:

  • Nurses and medical practitioners
  • Childcare
  • Jobs that involve firearms
  • Jobs that involve operating heavy machinery or driving

Safety sensitive jobs are entitled to have a policy of not hiring medical marijuana patients.

Can My Employer Find Out If I Have A Medical Card?

Your medical information is confidential, so an employer cannot demand access to it. However, for safety-sensitive jobs, most employers will insist on a drug test. If you refuse to undergo a drug test or fail a drug test, then you will not be hired.

MMJRecs - medical marijuana plant
Image by RexMedlen on Pixabay: MMJ treatment is part of your protected, private personal health information.

Does Having A Medical Card Show Up On A Federal Background Check Or Any Other Records?

Medical marijuana cards will not show up on a federal background check because they are protected under HIPAA legislation.

Your medical marijuana card will appear on your personal medical records, which will be accessible to medical professionals who treat you. Your name will also appear on your state’s MMJ card registry. However, both your personal medical records and your state’s MMJ registry are confidential.

How Do You Apply For An MMJ Card?

If you would like a confidential medical marijuana card, the easiest way to apply is through MMJRecs. The team will set up an online consultation between you and an MMJ doctor in your state. Once the doctor has verified your suitability for treatment with MMJ, they will fill in the relevant sections of an MMJ card application form and email it to you. You can then submit the completed application form to your local MMJ authorities.

Featured image by Tim Mossholder on Pixabay

How To Apply For An MMJ Card During COVID-19 Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way people go about their everyday lives, closing nonessential businesses in many communities in the process. This can be a worry for those who are looking to get approval for the use of medical marijuana.

The good news is that in many states, MMJ services have been deemed essential during the lockdown. Here’s how MMJ rules may have changed in recent circumstances, and everything you need to know about how to apply for an MMJ card during COVID-19 lockdown.

COVID-19 and Medical Cannabis Patients

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, only a few states allowed virtual visits for the prescription of medical marijuana – both renewals and initial consultations. Now, COVID-19 has forced many people to stay at home due to state orders. As a result, rules surrounding virtual visits to the doctor for medical marijuana have been relaxed.

Of course, how relaxed this has become (if at all) depends on where you live. Some states allow all visits to be conducted virtually, while others are requiring that initial consultations take place face-to-face. And once the stay at home orders state of emergency have been lifted, states will revert to pre-lockdown rules about prescribing medical marijuana.

How To Apply For An MMJ Card During COVID-19 Lockdown

MMJ cards allow a patient to legally access medical marijuana dispensaries in order to purchase medical marijuana. These cards are issued by individual states, so the process can be different from state to state.

In general, to obtain an MMJ card you must:

  • Have a qualifying condition. Conditions commonly prescribed an MMJ card include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, or PTSD. Qualifying conditions change from state to state, so inquire with your doctor to find out more about your particular area.
  • See a doctor. A state-certified doctor must prescribe MMJ to you for a medical condition.
  • Apply for an MMJ card. Each state has a different government agency that oversees the MMJ program. Check with the agency in your state for more information about the paperwork you must complete to apply, and any fees associated with it.

After you’ve been approved, you can use your MMJ card to access medical marijuana in state-approved dispensaries.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ dispensaries

Image by Add Weed on Unsplash: Can I apply for an MMJ card during CV19 lockdown? Applying for an MMJ card during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic isn’t as complicated as you may think.

Which States Allow Telemedicine Visits For An MMJ Card?

Telemedicine visits are being increasingly offered in many states with medical marijuana programs, but in different capacities. States that allow only for renewals of MMJ cards during the pandemic include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington D.C.
  • Washington

States that allow for an initial telemedicine consultation include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

The situation surrounding stay at home orders is different in every state, so make sure to check with the government body that oversees the medical marijuana program in your state to figure out how you can get a prescription for medical marijuana and apply for an MMJ card.

If you live in a state with recreational marijuana, it may not have been deemed essential during this time, so it’s important to check with your state to find out more about how to access recreational marijuana (if you can) during the pandemic. Conversely, medical marijuana patients have access to MMJ in every state that has legalized and regulated it.

 

MMJRecs - MMJ delivery

Image by Drew Beamer on Unsplash: Wondering how to access MMJ during coronavirus lockdown? In some places, it’s as easy as delivery right to your door!

How To Access MMJ During Coronavirus Lockdown

A pressing concern for many MMJ patients is how to safely access MMJ during the lockdown. After all, many people who take medical marijuana may have a chronic illness that places them in the high-risk category for COVID-19, so physically going to a dispensary can be dangerous for them.

Luckily, MMJ patients need not worry. In many states, there are a couple of choices for getting the MMJ you need while reducing contact with people. These interim measures have been put into place in many states:

  • Online ordering and delivery. In many states, home delivery for medical marijuana patients have been approved. The patient simply orders the MMJ online or by phone and the order is taken directly to their home. Check to see if this is currently offered in your state.
  • Curbside pickup. Another temporary measure put into place for dispensaries that may not be able to offer delivery is curbside pickup. Patients or their caregivers can place their MMJ order online or by phone and then drive to the dispensary. Once there, a dispensary worker will bring the MMJ to the car so you don’t have to go inside.

Check frequently in your state to see if and when either of these options are available to you.

Featured image by Christina Winter on Unsplash

Are Dispensaries Prioritizing MMJ Card Holders During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

There is much uncertainty in the world right now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For individuals who use medical marijuana (MMJ) to help ease or alleviate their symptoms, the virus can cause a lot of worry. If you’re wondering, “Can I still get my MMJ from a dispensary because of COV-19?” the answer is probably yes. Here’s some more information you might want to know about how the coronavirus will affect MMJ card holders.

Are dispensaries prioritizing MMJ patients during the pandemic?

One of the main worries MMJ patients are having is whether they will have access to enough product to suit their needs during this pandemic. Going without MMJ doses could result in an increase in symptoms (and an overall negative impact on health and wellbeing). You probably have the question, “Will my local dispensary prioritize me if I am an MMJ cardholder?”. For the most part, the answer is likely yes.

Many dispensaries have announced that they will supply product to MMJ cardholders ahead of recreational users since they have a more serious need for it. This policy could differ from state to state and even from city to city, depending on that area’s regulations regarding medical marijuana usage. In general, you should have reliable access to cannabis products because of your official MMJ card. By showing that card to dispensary employees, you have a much greater chance of getting your order taken care of (versus someone who is purchasing cannabis purely for recreational use).

How should I be buying medical marijuana during COVID-19 crisis?

There are a few steps you can take to buy your MMJ products during this time. First, your best option is to order from a dispensary that offers at-home deliveries. This way, you don’t have to leave your home and risk getting sick. This can also be the most convenient way since many cities have implemented a “shelter in place” restriction, which requires people to only leave their homes when absolutely necessary. In California, for example, cannabis dispensaries have been defined as an essential business, so they are still allowed to stay open when other nonessential businesses are required to close their doors to customers. If your preferred dispensary does not offer a delivery service, they might be providing curbside pick-up so you can collect your order without having to leave your vehicle or be around too many people. This can also be a great option for limiting your contact.

 

MMJRecs - delivery

Image by Rose Box on Unsplash: Get your MMJ products through mail delivery or curbside pickup if possible.

 

Finally, if neither of these options are available, at this time you are permitted to enter a dispensary to purchase your MMJ product. If this is the only way you can get your MMJ, try to remain at least six feet away from any other customers or employees, and perhaps wear gloves or a mask to be on the safe side. When you leave the dispensary, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands immediately.

Will my local dispensary run out of medical marijuana?

Because things are so hectic right now, many people worry that their dispensary will run out of the MMJ products they depend on. If you’re concerned that you might not be able to get the cannabis products you need, it might be a good idea to purchase a little more than you normally do. Some local governments (such as Boston, Massachusetts) are implementing regulations that would allow MMJ users to purchase at least 60 days’ worth of product in case they’re quarantined or unable to purchase more frequently for some reason.

You might want to check in with your local government to find out what kinds of restrictions are currently in place for how much cannabis you can have at one time. You’ll want to make sure you have a supply that can support whatever ailments you’re currently experiencing. On the same note, if dispensaries are reclassified as nonessential businesses in future, it might be more difficult for you to get access to products. So, buying a little more could be a safer option.

However, it’s absolutely essential that you don’t overbuy or hoard MMJ products. As we’ve seen with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, etc., people can start to panic and buy insanely large quantities of products they’re worried they’ll run out of. We don’t want this to happen with the supply of marijuana. It’s critical that MMJ patients are still able to get access to the products they need to help with their (sometimes severe and debilitating) symptoms. Don’t be afraid to buy the products you need, but think of others and only purchase a reasonable amount at any one time.

 

MMJ Recs - Marijuana Growing House

Image by noexcusesradio on Pixabay: Don’t overbuy MMJ products – most dispensaries are coping with the higher demand.

 

Your usage of MMJ products could change a little during this crazy time. For example, it’s potentially not a good idea for people to be smoking MMJ right now, because this could lead to damage to the lungs (which could make them more susceptible to catching COVID-19 or experiencing more severe symptoms). You might want to try other dosing alternatives, such as edibles, tinctures, or digestive oils instead.

If you use MMJ products to help with a mental health condition such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, you may notice that your symptoms have increased because of the stressful nature of the world right now. If you’re going to be increasing your usage of MMJ products, trying stronger doses, or testing out alternative dosing methods, make sure to consult with your doctor first.

Although we’re living in an uncertain time, dispensaries will hopefully still be able to keep up with the increased demand for MMJ products. Stay in contact with your local dispensary by phone, through their website, or by email so you can have advance knowledge if they’re experiencing any supply issues. Stay up to date and be cautious about ordering your product so that your MMJ needs can still be covered while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Featured image by Add Weed on Unsplash