A staggering 66% of US citizens strongly assert that the use of marijuana should be legalized. Despite this poll, the use of recreational marijuana still remains illegal under federal law.
Nonetheless, more than half of the states have legalized the use of medical cannabis in some form. The FDA has even approved its use in the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy.
If you reside in a state where the use of cannabis is illegal, this article explores how to get medical marijuana. Read on.
Is Medical Marijuana the Same as Recreational Marijuana?
The marijuana plant has over a hundred different compounds known as cannabinoids. Each one of them has a different effect on the body.
The two main active compounds used in medicine are cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the feelings of intoxication people get when they ingest it.
Medical cannabis and recreational weed essentially have the same products. In medical cannabis, however, THC and CBD are extracted and used for their medicinal properties.
Why Do You Need a Medical Marijuana Card
Before we delve into how to get medical weed there’s one critical question you need to ask first. Why do you need a medical marijuana card in the first place?
Well, for one simple reason: The use of marijuana is illegal in states that don’t endorse its recreational use.
So, if you don’t want to get thrown into jail if you live in a state that hasn’t legalized the use of weed, then you definitely need to get yourself a medical marijuana card. The card tells the state that you are properly registered to use marijuana for medical reasons.
That way you don’t have to worry about potential legal issues at the state level. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that any form of marijuana, whether for recreational or medical use remains illegal under federal law.
The federal government doesn’t recognize its medical benefits. The card only prevents you from criminal penalties at the state level. You can use it to obtain medical marijuana from state-approved wellness centers, dispensaries and health clinics.
How to Get Medical Marijuana
In order to get legal weed, you’ll first need to get a medical marijuana card. Here’s how you go about it.
1. Do Your Homework on State Restrictions and Legislation
The possession of medical weed using marijuana cards is legally recognized in nearly 30 states and the District of Columbia. However, the rules that govern the approval of a medical marijuana card might differ.
So, it’s important to know in advance what hurdles may stand in your way so that you can jump over them. Here’s an example to paint a picture.
In Arizona and Connecticut, having cancer, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma qualify you for a medical marijuana card. If you have sickle cell disease and ulcerative colitis, you can get a medical marijuana card for both conditions in Connecticut but not Arizona.
You can see why it’s important to do your homework before you apply for the card. The diseases covered by most of the marijuana-legal states include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, and glaucoma.
2. Get Medical Proof
When applying for a medical marijuana card, you’ll need to round up your medical records to serve as proof of your disability, illness or injury. These documents have to be accompanied by a signed physician’s statement that confirms your ailment.
It recommends the use of medical marijuana and details how it will be used to alleviate the symptoms of your specific condition. In most cases, your physician will have to work directly with the state health department to file the required paperwork before you can be approved for a medical cannabis card.
Once you receive it you can do an online consultation and receive your medical marijuana prescription in a matter of minutes. With this method, you get to speak discreetly with a licensed healthcare professional to receive and renew your medical cannabis prescription. Learn more about that on this website.
3. Provide Proof of State Residency
Most states require you to be a state resident in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card. So, you’ll have to provide some form of ID before your application can move to the next stage. A driver’s license or passport will suffice.
4. Pay the Required Costs Associated with the Application
A doctor’s recommendation can be obtained from your primary care physician at the cost of what a regular office visit might be. Some states have specific clinics that exclusively provide physician’s recommendations.
You’ll also have to pay a registration fee to the state before you can receive your medical marijuana card. Registration charges vary from state to state and typically range between $35 and $200. There’s also a renewal charge that you have to pay to apply for a new card once your old one expires.
5. Medical Marijuana Card Renewal
Medical marijuana cards are not issued for an indefinite period. Depending on your state’s regulations, they are generally valid for a specific period of time like one year.
Once that period elapses, you’ll have to reapply for a new card afresh. So check the card validity period with your state health department.
The Bottom Line
Each state has a different legal framework that governs the use of medical marijuana. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these regulations before you obtain a card.
Use the steps on how to get medical marijuana outlined in this guide to help you with the process. Check out our blog for more posts on medical marijuana.