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Medical Marijuana Card: What It is and Why You Might Need It

ByDarshan Shah

Sep 14, 2019 #health

There are now 33 states that allow the use of medical marijuana for treating certain conditions. Among them are 10 that also allow the recreational use of marijuana. Residents living in those 10 states do not need any special identification or license to obtain marijuana. In the remaining 23 states, a specific ID is required to obtain the plant.

That ID is known as the medical marijuana card. It is also referred to as a medical marijuana ID (MMID) or just simply medical marijuana (MMJ). It is a document that demonstrates a person’s need for medical marijuana as confirmed by a doctor.

The Point of the Card

You might wonder why a medical marijuana card is required when no such card is required to purchase prescription drugs. Well, that’s because there’s a big difference between medical marijuana and prescription medications.

Prescription medications are controlled substances that can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription. The mere fact that a doctor has prescribed a drug indicates that you have already been cleared to take it. Medical marijuana is different because the federal government still considers it an illegal substance. In Washington’s eyes, it is still a crime to prescribe medical marijuana.

The point of the card is to demonstrate that you have been cleared by a doctor to take medical marijuana for your condition. Without the card you would not be allowed to enter a medical marijuana dispensary in most states. Controlling access is one of the ways states try to avoid the risk of medical marijuana dispensaries selling the drug for recreational use.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

We have now come to the all-important question: how do you get a medical marijuana card? Though the exact procedures differ from one state to the next, a general rule of thumb is that you must consult with a licensed physician to discuss your condition. Assuming you consult with your GP, he or she should already be familiar enough with your condition to know whether or not medical marijuana is appropriate.

Patients consulting doctors for the first time have to undergo a standard examination to determine overall health and medical marijuana efficacy. Note that in some states, it is perfectly legal to consult with a doctor online. Doctors are available through both online portals and mobile apps like Veriheal to help you get your medical marijuana card.

Following the consultation, a doctor will provide an approved patient with a document demonstrating said approval. That document is essentially the MMJ a patient takes to the dispensary when purchasing medical marijuana.

Growing Medical Marijuana at Home

There is one more component of the MMJ that differentiates it from a doctor’s prescription. That difference is the ability to grow your own medical marijuana at home. Believe it or not, some patients prefer to go this route for whatever reason.

In a nutshell, almost every state that allows medical marijuana for individual use also allows patients to grow the plant at home. An MMJ identifies the patient as having that right. However, an MMJ is not a license to grow medical marijuana for resale. It doesn’t give patients the right to open their own dispensaries in their garages or basements.

If you have need of medical marijuana for an approved condition, 33 states now give you the opportunity to obtain the plant. Just know that you will need a medical marijuana card in 23 of those states. If you live in one of the 17 states that still does not recognize medical marijuana as a legal medical product, a card won’t do you any good.

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