The topic of medical marijuana cards in the USA is often confusing. Medical marijuana is regulated at the state level, resulting in the law differing from one state to another.
While CBD products are legal on a federal level, the use of marijuana both for medical and recreational use is not. Instead, certain states, such as California and Colorado, have legalized the use of marijuana while others have not.
In certain states, having an MMJ card is the only way to access marijuana. For example, a Florida medical marijuana card is essential documentation for residents who intend to use marijuana to treat a chronic health condition.
So, what is an MMJ card, and what is the process for getting one?
What Is an MMJ Card?
An mmj card, or medical marijuana card, is a state piece of documentation that recognizes an individual to have a particular medical condition and that the condition can be effectively managed or treated through the use of marijuana.
An individual with an mmj card is legally allowed to purchase and use marijuana for medical purposes within the state where they reside. An MMJ card means that individuals can access medical marijuana through state-regulated dispensaries.
Why Is an MMJ Card Important?
For those who live in a state where recreational marijuana is not legal and has not been decriminalized, an mmj card is the only method of legally purchasing and using marijuana. This is the case in states such as Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee.
In other states such as New York, California, and Oregon, it is legal to purchase and use marijuana for recreational purposes. In these states, having an MMJ card is not such a necessity. However, it does still offer several benefits.
In many states, even where marijuana is legal for recreational use, there are still limits on where it can be sold, how much can be purchased at any one time, and where it can be used. Having an MMJ card removes a lot of these restrictions.
Medical marijuana dispensaries can sell more potent strains and larger quantities to customers than recreational stores. However, medical marijuana dispensaries can only sell to those with an mmj card. Therefore having an MMJ card is sometimes essential for people who rely on marijuana to manage chronic conditions.
How to get an mmj card?
As the use of marijuana is regulated at the state level, the rules and process for obtaining an MMJ card vary based on the state.
Almost all states require the same few basic steps to obtain an MMJ card.
The first step is usually to get evidence of the medical condition for which you need an MMJ card. Each state has its own list of conditions that are deemed acceptable.
All states generally recognize certain conditions such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Other conditions with less substantial scientific evidence to support the benefits of marijuana depend on the individual state and its policies.
Getting evidence of a medical condition is usually not as simple as having it on your medical records. In many states, a state-authorized MMJ doctor must assess the condition at the individual’s expense.
Once sufficient medical evidence has been obtained, it is then necessary to fill out the paperwork and pay the required admin fees. Next, it is simply a case of waiting.
The processing times can vary significantly based on the state. Unsurprisingly in the states where recreational marijuana use is legal, the processing and wait times are much shorter than those where it is not.
What Happens After Receiving an MMJ Card?
After receiving an MMJ card in the post, the individual can purchase medical marijuana from any state-listed medical dispensary. MMJ cards are only valid within the state that they have been issued. This means that they do not allow for the purchase or use of marijuana when out of state.
In almost all states, an MMJ card is valid for twelve months. The individual must then renew it to continue legally purchasing and using medical marijuana.
The process for renewing the card is usually slightly cheaper and should be a little quicker as well. However, another medical evaluation by an authorized doctor is sometimes required, which adds to the overall cost.
For most people who rely on medical marijuana, the process and cost of obtaining an MMJ card are worthwhile to access and safely use marijuana with ease.