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Do You Still Need A Medical Card in California?

Since 2018, anyone over 21 can purchase marijuana in California legally without a medical card. However, the laws on recreational marijuana possession and cultivation are different from the medical ones. So if you qualify, it’s worth getting hold of a medical marijuana identification card. Here at Root’d, we always want you to be on the right side of the law, so take a look at our guide about medical cards in California.

What Are The Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)?

You don’t need a card to use medical marijuana. However, when you own one, it’s an easy way to prove to law enforcement you have permission to possess and transport large amounts of marijuana for medical use. As well as this, with an MMIC card, you don’t pay local taxes on marijuana, which are around 32 – 45 percent on average. 

With a medical marijuana card, you can grow and possess a larger amount of cannabis. Under medical marijuana laws, medicinal users can legally buy or possess eight ounces of flowers, 8 g of concentrate, six mature plants, and six immature plants. Without a card, you can only buy or possess an ounce of flower at a time and have a maximum of six mature plants.

Medicinal cannabis products such as tinctures, topical treatments, edibles, and capsules can contain up to 2000mg of THC per packet, which is double the amount allowed for recreational users. So with an MMJ card, you have access to more potent marijuana products.

The law in California states that recreational marijuana users must be at least 21 years of age. However, with a medical card, the age is reduced to 18. If you’re a minor, under 18, you can get a medicinal marijuana card with the consent of your parents. Furthermore, there are more medical marijuana dispensaries in California than recreational dispensaries. So with a card, you have access to more marijuana sale points. 

Things You Can’t Do With An MMJ Card

A medical marijuana card doesn’t exempt you from the law. There are some things you can’t do with a card. You’re not allowed to sell marijuana or give it away for example, whereas adult recreational cannabis users can transfer up to an ounce to another adult user. Additionally, you can’t smoke marijuana in places where smoking is prohibited, even with an MMJ card. 

How to Obtain a California Medical Marijuana Card  

To obtain a medical marijuana id card (MMIC)in California, first, you have to speak to your physician to get a doctor’s recommendation. If you have a qualifying condition, your physician will give you a medicinal marijuana certificate. Not all doctors will approve the use of marijuana because it’s still illegal under federal law.

If you can’t get a physician’s recommendation from your doctor, get advice from a local dispensary. A dispensary might advise you about a licensed physician that will give you a medical marijuana recommendation. 

Once you have your certificate, go to the CDPH California Department of Public Health to fill out an application form, and make an appointment to go and see them in person. When you go for your appointment, take with you a copy of your application form, proof of residency, such as a utility bill, and a government-issued ID card such as a driver’s license. 

Also, there’s a charge for a medical marijuana card which varies state by state, but it won’t be more than $100 dollars. So make sure you have the funds to cover the fee when you go for your appointment.

It can take up to 35 days to get approval for your medical cannabis card, and once approved, the card is valid for a year. If the state denies your application, you can file an appeal. Medical Marijuana patients can also apply for a card for a caregiver.

What are the Marijuana Laws in California?

Since January the 1st 2018, anyone over the age of 21 can legally buy cannabis in California, and it’s legal to sell under state license. The state of California was the first state in the USA to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 1996 with the Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215. 

Since then, several more changes in legislation have helped with the legalization of marijuana for recreational users: 

  • 2003 – Senate Bill 420 – Also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act. The 420 Bill reworded and rectified a few things in the Compassionate Use Act. The voluntary medical marijuana identification card program also came from this bill.
  • 2010 – Senate Bill 1449 – This bill downgraded possession of non-medical marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction.
  • 2015 – Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act MMRSA – This act focused on regulating medical marijuana for commercial activity.
  • 2016 – Proposition 64 – Also known as the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Marijuana Use Act or AUMA. The AUMA made it legal for adults over 21 to use marijuana recreationally. The act also incorporated the framework, licensing, sales tax, and regulation for the sale and cultivation of marijuana. 
  • 2018 – Senate Bill 94 – Officially known as the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. This act combined both the medicinal and recreational use laws, and the state of California started issuing licences for commercial marijuana sales.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana?

To obtain a medical marijuana card, you must have a qualifying medical condition. If you have chronic or persistent medical symptoms that “substantially limit your ability to conduct major life activities” or “ causes serious harm to your safety, physical or mental health”, you might qualify.

Other qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Aids 
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Persistent muscle spasms like MS
  • Seizures – including epilepsy
  • Severe nausea   

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Marijuana In California

Who Qualifies for A California Medical Marijuana Card?

If you have a chronic, debilitating medical condition, you may qualify for a medical marijuana card in California. Certain illnesses such as arthritis, cancer, and epilepsy automatically qualify for a card. Speak to your physician for more advice about qualifying conditions.

Do Primary Caregivers Qualify For A Medical Marijuana Card

A primary caregiver over the age of 18 can be issued a medical marijuana card on behalf of a patient. The qualified patient has to apply on behalf of the caregiver, and the caregiver card is only valid for the same amount of time as the patient’s card.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal In California?

In 1996, California was the first state in the USA to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. Over time, the laws have progressed, and from 2018, marijuana became legal for medicinal and adult recreational users over the age of 21 in California.

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