Medical marijuana use in America is legal in 35 states. There are also fifteen states where the recreational use of cannabis is also legal. Around 3 million medical marijuana patients are in the US, and of these 3 million, a whopping 40% of them are in California alone.
Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, laws and regulations on the use and possession of medical cannabis vary from state to state. Likewise, the process and criteria for the approval of patients’ medical marijuana cards may also be different for each state.
What Is It and How Do I Get One?
Patients who are enrolled in a state’s medical marijuana program are issued an ID card called a medical marijuana card, which they use each time they visit a medical marijuana dispensary.
Not only does a medical marijuana card permits patients to purchase cannabis, but the card also allows them to cultivate the plant, as well as avail themselves of marijuana delivery services. A cannabis card, or MMID, is issued by the state. But before a card is issued to an individual, they must first get a signed recommendation from a list of approved, licensed physicians to qualify for a card.
Both the patient and the physician should agree that marijuana as a treatment option is effective and that the patient’s ailment is on the list of approved conditions by the state. Armed with a physician’s recommendation, the patient should then apply through the state, where they’ll pay a fee. MMID fee can vary from state to state. Since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, doctors can’t prescribe marijuana to any patients just yet.
The actual step-by-step process of procuring an MMID may be different for each state, though, and would largely depend on the state’s laws and policies. If you’re in the area, marijuana doctors online in PA will help you get your card.
With more states legalizing adult-use, or recreational marijuana, cannabis legalization would almost certainly continue to expand, so the system for patients will also continue to evolve.
Why Get a Marijuana Medical Card?
What if your state has both medical and adult-use marijuana legal? Is a medical marijuana card necessary? Is it worth it to go through the application process when recreational use is legal, anyway?
Yes. You’re better off getting a medical marijuana card, that is, if you’re qualified. Here are some reasons why:
- Cheaper Costs and Lower Taxes
The main advantage of having a medical marijuana card is a patient could get cannabis from dispensaries at lower costs. The savings can be considerable, especially for people who depend on cannabis medication for their medical issues.
Marijuana dispensaries give special considerations to marijuana patients. In Colorado, for instance, medical patients don’t have to pay the usual 10% marijuana retail tax, plus the 15% excise tax that customers of adult-use dispensaries must pay. Having a medical card means patients can have access to cheaper medicines, which makes their healthcare accessible as well as affordable.
- Higher Potency
When it comes to medical marijuana, the dosage is crucial. A lot of patients require access to medical-grade marijuana to ease symptoms. While cannabis for recreational use may have to adhere to potency limits, cannabis for medical dispensaries is allowed some leeway.
Recreational dispensaries in California, for instance, have a limit of 1,000mg of cannabinoids/package of lotions or tinctures. This doesn’t apply to medical dispensaries as they have a much higher limit. Medical dispensaries can sell lotions or tinctures that contain cannabinoids of up to 2,000mg. Potency limits, however, may differ from one state to another.
Washington State, for instance, has a 10mg limit on recreational edible potency. Other dispensaries, on the other hand, have edibles that contain 25mg available for medical marijuana patients.
- Under 21 Medical Marijuana Patients
Recreational marijuana dispensaries are only allowed to sell their products to customers 21 years or older. Medical marijuana cards allow patients 20 years old or younger to have access to medications they need for their ailments, like epilepsy.
Most states with medical marijuana programs have laws that allow minors access to medical marijuana with a caregiver’s assistance. Potency limits, form of marijuana (edibles, oils, or others), and allowed cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.) depend on state policies.
- Lets You Grow What You Need
Many states allow medical marijuana patients to grow cannabis plants of their own. Often, medical patients are permitted to cultivate more plants than recreational users. States with both medical and recreational laws permit medical patients some leeway when it comes to cannabis cultivation – they let them grow marijuana as needed.
- Medical Cannabis Products are Safer and Cleaner
Medical marijuana products have more stringent testing and higher safety requirements. The analysis of cannabis products as a medication is essential to safer consumer products’ development. This analysis also lets patients know about the types of cannabinoids present in the product and its potency, including the assurance that harmful contaminants, like pesticides, solvents, and others, aren’t present.
A medical marijuana card would let you purchase your marijuana medications at a medical cannabis dispensary. Having an MMID has many benefits, which include getting cheaper and safer products. If you’re a qualified medical marijuana patient, it’s better to get registered and use a medical marijuana dispensary than just rely on recreational dispensaries.