Medical marijuana has a long and fascinating history in the United States of America. It was first legalized in California in 1996, and since then, 29 states across the country have embraced the legalization of it by residents owning an MMJ card. It’s been a tough road, but if the trend continues, more and more states across the country will vote the medicine though in due course; many of the twenty nine swinging to legalization in the last few years.
The process by which a patient can avail of medical marijuana differs in each state, but one thing that unites all medical marijuana procedure is the crucial MMJ card; you have to procure one if you want to avail of the medicine.
These MMJ cards can be obtained from a registered healthcare professional like your GP, or even online, from professional health outlets on the internet. It’s quite a straightforward process in most states to sign up for the MMJ card, and it doesn’t take too long to start using medical marijuana legally.
But interestingly, running parallel to the country-wide debate about MMJ legality is a debate about recreational marijuana legality. Indeed, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California have all legalized recreational MJ as well as medical MJ; the question now becomes: If marijuana is legal, do patients have to bother with an MMJ card at all?
MMJ Laws and Medical Marijuana Cards
Like every controversial topic, the answer isn’t straightforward. In Colorado for example, the answer is no and yes. You aren’t required to have an MMJ card to buy marijuana in the state of Colorado; anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to purchase the drug for recreational use (which of course, can include medical by default) in doses of 1/4 ounces maximum.
However, without an MMJ card, you can only purchase marijuana from recreational stores and not the licensed dispensaries. So the onus is on you to ‘self-medicate’ as it were, and forgo the insight and advice that you might avail of at medical dispensaries.
California MMJ Laws
In California, the issue as it stands in mid-2017 is even more thorny. Cali legalized recreational marijuana last November 8th, on the same night that Donald Trump was voted President-elect. Some thought that they could throw their MMJ cards out of the window and immediately start availing of recreational marijuana, but things didn’t prove to be so simple.
Though the recreational bill passed, it’s going to take the guts of a year to set up, with the first marijuana being projected to be sold legally in early 2018. So until that time, it’s MMJ cards all the way; though when the law does kick in down in California, the same logic as Colorado applies. It’s much better to have an MMJ card and avail of the medical practicalities that one affords, rather than dish out recreational doses to yourself.
What Cannabis Cards Are Used For
An MMJ card is strictly for state-use only, and is exclusively available to those residing in the state in question. All you need is a qualifying condition as described by each state’s respective MMJ bill, proof of residence in the state, and a doctor who can sign your forms and validate you.
If you suffer from a serious condition, it is absolutely worth availing of an MMJ card, even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. This is one of the big reasons why an MMJ card will probably always be necessary in the U.S.; the fact that it’s used to treat such a large range of conditions – some which require large doses and some which require separate carers to procure or even home-grow medical marijuana for their patients.
This spectrum of ailments goes all the way from the vague and mild of ‘chronic pain’ (or in California’s exceptionally lax case, ‘any condition for which marijuana provides relief’) to the specific and severe of Parkinson’s or cancer.
When you’re dealing with that amount of ailments, you should absolutely consult with a doctor before procuring any medicine and get licensed up with a legitimate MMJ card. That way you know you’re benefitting the most from the medicine, rather than self-medicating with recreational stock.
It’s also useful to know what form to take MMJ in; smoking, oil and edible forms can all be prescribed and covered under an MMJ card. Again, your personal doctor is the best person to advise you.
So ultimately, for the eight states and counting that have legalized recreational marijuana, the question is not really ‘Will an MMJ card always be necessary?’ but something more like, ‘Am I better off with an MMJ card?’ The answer is almost always yes.
So if you live in a legalized state and suffer from a condition that you suspect MMJ can help with, then talk to your doctor as soon as you can about registering for a legitimate and simple-to-procure medical marijuana card.