Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card

Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card
When you first get your medical marijuana ID card, it can be a little bit of a rush—like you’ve suddenly been given permission to do something that’s long been forbidden. (Which is basically what’s happening.) Of course, the greatest part about it is that it can provide you with a sense of hope, awareness that your pain and other symptoms may soon be dealt with in a new and effective way—but we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t also a glimmer of mischievous joy there. Medical marijuana is still enough of a taboo topic in most communities that getting your card feels like getting away with something.
That’s what makes it exciting, but it’s also what makes it daunting: For first-timers, there are often questions, anxieties, and worries that surface. What’s the process? What will your doctor say? Will you be blacklisted if you ask for a card and your request is denied?

The Basics of MMJ ID Card Application

As for the details of how the process works, there are a few basic concepts to bear in mind, but you also need to remember that different states have different guidelines and requirements. (A useful summary of these distinctions can be found here.)

With that said, we would outline the process in this way:

    • Find out if your condition is covered. Generally speaking, you can get an ID card if you have cancer or epilepsy; you probably can’t get it for a stubbed toe. With that said, different states approve of MMJ for different conditions, and we recommend checking your state government’s website for details.

    • Remember that the registry system is your friend. You may not like the idea of being in a registry system where law enforcement agents can see your name, but this is for your own good. It helps to verify that you’re allowed to be in possession of marijuana. Remember that marijuana possession is still a criminal act in many places, technically speaking, so registering is something that protects you.

    • Know how much you can have. Different states have different limits on how much marijuana you can legally possess at a given time. Legitimate dispensaries are not going to give you more than what’s legally permissible, but you still need to know what the limit is. In Arizona, it’s 2.5 oz. of usable marijuana; in California it’s a full 8 oz.; and so it goes.

    • Know where you can use your ID card. At this time, Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, and Rhode Island are the only states that will accept an out-of-state medical marijuana card.

      Going to Get Your Card
      When you actually head down to apply for your card in person, you’ll need to take a few things with you—including:

      • A valid photo ID.

      • Proof of your county residence; your driver’s license should work for both of these, assuming the address is current.

      • Most importantly: A written recommendation from your doctor.From there, the process is surprisingly (and perhaps a little disappointingly) similar to filing for any other government program or ID. You’ll need to fill out some paperwork, pony up your payment, and submit the documents you brought with you. If you’ve followed the other steps listed here, though, then there’s really nothing to worry about at this point; it’s simply a matter of walking through the red tape and completing the process.

      Talking with Your Doctor

      In fact, the really scary part of this, for most would-be MMJ patients, is talking with the physician. There is sometimes a fear of judgment—or worse: That the doctor will add you to some kind of blacklist, and you’ll never be able to see a doctor in your state again.

      To address the latter concern, this just won’t happen. While MMJ patients will need to register, those who broach the topic and are rebuffed are not automatically going to be labeled druggies and shut out from the system. The doctor’s role is to serve and to help you—to work as your advocate and advisor—all while maintaining full confidentiality. You’ve got to bring up the subject if you want to know whether it’s right for you, and you shouldn’t fear penalization just for asking about this health care option.

      That’s really the broader point here, as well. The role of the doctor is to help guide you through the process, and if you do indeed have a condition that lends itself to MMJ treatment, your doctor will surely be supportive and informative. Come ready to ask the doctor any questions you may have, either about the medicine itself or about the application process. In particular, ask which strain of MMJ you need to try.

      Navigating this green card process is—for the medical marijuana virgin—potentially worrisome, but it shouldn’t be: Do your homework and enlist your doctor’s advocacy and you’ll be just fine. AllBud provides a listing of Doctors who provide Medical Marijuana Evaluations which can help you get started.