How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

Posted 7 years ago by Ian Shutts

Medical marijuana has been legal for some time in many countries and it continues to be legalized in pockets of the world, with Mexico and Greece being the latest countries to legalize.
Despite legalization making medical marijuana enter the popular discourse, there is still a bit of confusion, or lack of education, on how to proceed with getting a medical marijuana card.
This article provides an overview of the various considerations one should undertake when accessing a medical marijuana card.

State of Legalization
Simply, medical marijuana is only available where it is legalized. In these cases, governments have regulated the industry as such that its limited to certain cultivators and producers, and only a handful of cannabis business are authorized to provide medical pot.

Different regions have different regulations that determine whether a patient is eligible for a medical marijuana program.
When you look at how eligibility differs across regions, like the U.S. states, for instance, the differences in eligibility requirements are vast. For instance, in Alabama or Texas, you can only access medical marijuana for epilepsy, whereas in states like Oregon or California, the list of eligible conditions is long.

Your Doctor’s Stance
Not all health practitioners support medical marijuana. Many are hesitant to sign on due to the lack of peer-reviewed medical research, but as legalization happens in more places, more research becomes emergent.
Some doctors specialize wholly in prescribing medical marijuana. These doctors could be located in dispensaries or practices that indicate that cannabis is their method of approach.
If you have found a doctor that is comfortable with medical marijuana, you may either receive a full Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Card, or a Medical Marijuana Recommendation Card.
In areas like in the U.S. where all marijuana is illegal at the federal level, doctors aren’t legally allowed to write “prescriptions” but rather their support for medical marijuana comes in a Medical Marijuana Recommendation Card, which are accepted by dispensaries.

The Doctor’s Visit
After determining medical eligibility for medical marijuana, your doctor will put you through an assessment to ensure that due diligence is being used in the process.
While these assessments vary by region, common questions include having the patient describing their illness and symptoms, and what they are hoping to achieve with medical marijuana.
The assessment form may also ask the patient to rank a number of symptoms they may or may not be feeling such as pain, anxiety, or inflammation.
A mental health assessment is usually also undertaken to help the practitioner understand whether the patient is able to handle the psychoactive effects of cannabis if a THC-high strain is used.

In some cases, you will be required to pay a fee for your assessment and another fee for obtaining the required documentation that constitutes your medical marijuana card. These fees vary across regions.

Other Considerations
In most regions, a medical marijuana card, or a medical marijuana recommendation will need to be renewed every year.
In more progressive states, such as California, getting a medical marijuana recommendation is as easy as getting it online. The process is similar to seeing a marijuana doctor in person, but involves an online assessment by a doctor and patients can print their cards right off their computers.
It is also worth noting that when you get a medical marijuana card, it is limited only to your region and the limits of the medical marijuana program. For instance, you need to be a resident of California to participate in the medical marijuana program, and a medical marijuana recommendation in California wouldn’t be able to be transferred to a different state.

Still to be Improved
While medical marijuana legislation gives patients the right to cultivate, purchase and use marijuana as medical treatment, restrictions still apply.
Nowhere is it legal to use marijuana in public, and some Human Resources policies need to be updated so to reflect the use of medical marijuana in the workplace.
In addition, some more conservative areas place tough restrictions on how medical marijuana is consumed. For instance, in Florida, where medical marijuana just became legalized, it is banned for medical marijuana patients to smoke flower, because of the perceived effects of smoke on the lungs.

Enjoy the Privilege
The good news is that where it is legalized, medical marijuana is available for patients who need it. While the systems are full of kinks due to the tough position of legalization in some areas, there can only be improvements as more research and recommendations for due process come through.
Medical marijuana is showing no signs of ever going away.