How Do I Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California?

by Haley Mills · October 31, 2022

If you’re a California resident interested in obtaining a medical marijuana card, read on for a step-by-step guide.

how do i get a medical marijuana card in california

Whether you’re a California resident considering applying for an MMJ card or if you are a current cardholder looking to move to California, there are steps you can take to secure your medical marijuana card online. The California medical marijuana card process can be done entirely online. 

One will first need to obtain a certification from a licensed physician that they have a qualifying condition. Once certified by a medical professional, patients can go through the application process online, either through the state website or telehealth providers. Read on as we go over the steps to apply, renew, and become a caregiver in California. 

The United States and Legal Medical Cannabis

In the United States, medical marijuana programs have been legalized in thirty-six states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Medical marijuana programs allow patients with specified conditions to own, grow and utilize cannabis products to aid in managing their condition, even if recreational cannabis users are not authorized.

Approved requirements vary by state, and many programs will require patience to apply for a medical cannabis card. This process will typically include a consultation and evaluation by a physician. A primary care provider can often suggest it for medical cannabis patients with long-term or chronic conditions.

Medicinal Cannabis Use

Over fifty peer-reviewed medical studies have been conducted on the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis and its many cannabinoids and terpenes. The consensus that emerged from these studies is that cannabis can provide medical benefits for many different conditions.

While most of these studies have focused on the help of the specific cannabinoid CBD, other major and minor cannabinoids, in conjunction with terpenes, show significant promise in treating both physical and mental ailments.

CA Patient Eligibility

A medical marijuana patient must be 18 years of age or older. Only patients who can prove California residency can apply (personal driver’s license, Government ID). California residents must also have medical records showing a diagnosis that qualifies for medical marijuana cards by a licensed doctor.

The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 exempts patients and caregivers who possess or cultivate cannabis for medicinal treatment and who have a physician’s recommendation from legal punishment.

Qualifying Conditions in California

 in 1996, medical marijuana was legalized for patients with qualifying conditions, and a medical marijuana program was established.

These conditions include: 

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Anorexia.
  • Arthritis.
  • Cachexia.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Migraine.
  • Persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
  • Seizures include, but are not limited to, seizures associated with epilepsy.
  • Severe nausea.
  • Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either:
    • Substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one or more major life activities as defined in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336).
    •  If not alleviated, it may cause serious harm to the patient’s safety or physical or mental health.
    • “Written documentation” means accurate reproductions of those portions of a patient’s medical records that have been created by the attending physician, that contain the information required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 11362.715, and that the patient may submit as part of an application for an identification card.

Steps to Apply for a Medical Card

These are a few steps to get a medical marijuana card in California with the help of Leafy DOC.

First, skip the wait at the doctor’s office and schedule your evaluation from the comfort and convenience of your home.

Submit an intake form with a few personal details and a summary of your medical history; then, we’ll help you book an on-demand telehealth appointment or schedule a convenient time for later.

There is a money-back guarantee if you are not approved for California medical use.

Connect with the right medical marijuana doctor in minutes and easily chat with your provider on a smartphone, computer, or tablet via phone call or video. Our licensed physicians will evaluate your qualifying condition, address your questions and concerns, and then provide a recommendation for medical cannabis via email.

Once you have the recommendation letter, you can purchase products from medical cannabis dispensaries. Cardholders also have the option to apply for a county-issued medical marijuana identification card, allowing law enforcement officers to identify them as medical marijuana users.

Get Approved Today!

Can Leafy DOC help?

Absolutely! Not only can Leafy DOC provide a way to see a doctor via telehealth and obtain your medical card, but we also offer access to knowledgeable and helpful customer support and a personalized health coach that can guide you before and after the MMJ card process.

Our mission at Leafy DOC is to provide a seamless customer experience, educate people about cannabis, and ultimately help people get medical cards quickly and efficiently.

Additional MMJ Card Fees in CA

Each county in California can set its price for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) but cannot exceed 100 USD. A 50 percent reduction per card is available for Medi-Cal eligible applicants. Patients participating in the County Medical Services Program may have the fee waived.

The Renewal Process

You can renew your California MMJ license up to sixty days before it expires. You will receive an automated email with instructions when your renewal window opens. You can typically renew online for around forty dollars.

How to Apply as a Caregiver

A primary caregiver is an adult over 21 legally allowed to purchase, transport, educate, and administer medical cannabis to medical marijuana patients with a valid medical card.

Over thirty states have legalized medical marijuana programs, allowing caregivers to assist qualified patients. In these locations, state legislation provides legal protection for the patient and the caregiver from criminal penalties. 

Qualifications for primary caregivers under California marijuana law include:

– You have been designated for that purpose by a legal, medical marijuana patient

– You begin taking care of the person before you assume responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana use and purchasing at medical marijuana dispensaries.

To apply as a C.A. caregiver:

  1. Complete an MMIC application
  2. Provide a copy of the patient’s medical records and recommendation letter
  3. Photo identification for caregiver and patient
  4. Proof of residence for caregiver and patient
  5. Pay the MMIC application fee

Where to Purchase Medical Marijuana in California

Once you have registered for the California Medical Cannabis program and received your medical marijuana ID card, you may wonder what’s next. There are a few ways to receive legal medical marijuana in California as a qualified patient. You must bring a government-issued ID showing you are over 21 years old, but you don’t have to be a CA resident to shop at many dispensaries.

It would help if you also planned to bring cash, as most dispensaries do not have a credit card machine, but many do have an ATM on site or close by. You can expect to find flower, edibles, tinctures, vapes, concentrates, topicals, and more. You can locate state-licensed dispensaries via the California Bureau of Cannabis Control; some cities have multiple MMJ dispensaries while other areas are limited.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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