How To Qualify For A Medical Marijuana Card In California

Prescription pad with marijuana on it, medical mariju ana card in California

In 1996, the state of California paved the way to legalize the use of medical marijuana. While some states allow the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal law does not, it's still considered an illegal drug.

As such, you'll need a medical marijuana card in California if you want to use cannabis as an alternative medicine for your ailments. Some ways to consume the plant include smoking or vaping, brewing it as a tea, mixing it in brownies, cookies, and candies, eating it raw, applying to the skin as treatment oils, and taking it in capsules or tablets form. 

Not everyone can qualify for this type of card, though. The government is strict about approving applications to regulate cannabis use.

Steps to Take to Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in California

1. See A Physician

marijuana leaf next to a stethoscope, medical marijuana card in California

You need to consult with a licensed doctor in order to be evaluated and approved for a medical marijuana card in California. Here's a list of medical conditions that may allow you to get a medical marijuana card in California:

  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) – a virus that attacks the body's immune system and leaves it defenseless against life-threatening infections and cancers.
  • Anorexia nervosa – an eating disorder where a person does unhealthy and extreme methods of losing weight. 
  • Arthritis – the swelling, tenderness, inflammation, or degeneration of one or more joints.
  • Cachexia (wasting syndrome) – causes extreme weight loss and muscle wasting.
  • Cancer – the rapid creation of abnormal cells that spreads throughout the body. These abnormal cells may form a mass called a tumor.
  • Chronic pain – pain that lasts longer than six months, but some people can get this even if they don't have past injuries or body damage.
  • Glaucoma – an eye condition that can cause damage to the optic nerve and can cause vision loss and blindness.
  • Migraine – a kind of headache that causes throbbing pain on one side of the head.
  • Severe nausea extreme stomach discomfort which happens before vomiting.
  • Persistent muscle spasms – (for example, spasms caused by multiple sclerosis), also known as muscle cramps, are a sudden and involuntary contraction of muscles.
  • Seizures – (for example, epileptic seizures) entail abnormal electrical activities in the brain, which causes changes in behavior and physical movements.

2. Fill Out The Application Forms

You need to download and completely fill out these three forms:

  • Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal
  • Denial Appeals Application
  • Written Documentation of Patient's Medical Records

You will also need to prepare the following as your supporting documents:

  • A copy of a medical recommendation from a licensed physician
  • Proof of identity: Driver's License, State ID card, US Passport, Veteran's Administration ID card, or any Government Issued ID
  • Proof of residency that shows your name and current address: rent or mortgage agreement, utility or cell phone bill, California DMV license, California voter registration, bank statement, automobile documents, property documents or life or health insurance documents 

3. Make An Appointment

You need to submit the forms and documents in person. Contact your local health department and book an appointment. After booking an appointment, you will have to pay an application fee of no more than $100. Lastly, you need to get your photo taken. 

4. Apply And Wait For The ID Card

Once you have submitted all the necessary documents, you have to wait for the approval from the county health department, which can take about 35 days. Within that time, they will be issuing your medical marijuana ID card.

And, if your application gets denied, you can file an appeal with the California Department of Public Health. Don't worry. There is no additional fee to apply for this petition. 

Additionally, to file an appeal, you need to fill out the Appeals Form and submit it to the California Department of Public Health within 30 calendar days from the date you received the denial notice.

What To Expect From Your California Medical Marijuana Card

It will have your unique identification number, date of your card's expiration, name and telephone number of the county program that approves your application, internet address for verification of the medical marijuana's validity, your photo, and if you are a patient or a primary caregiver. 

Moreover, the ID card is only good for one year. The only way your ID card can be renewed is when you repeat the entire application process. 

Conclusion on How to Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in California

Medical marijuana has become a popular option for patients who want organic remedies for their ailments. However, cannabis is still highly regulated by the government. Nonetheless, as long as you can get a physician's approval and confirm that you need medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms of your illness, you can apply for a medical marijuana card in California.

*Author Bio

Margie K. Smith is a cancer survivor and has been battling breast cancer for seven years. She talks about her firsthand experience with medicinal marijuana in her podcasts.

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