Marijuana remains a federally illegal substance, although there is hope that this unfortunate and perplexing situation will change soon. In October 2022, President Joe Biden acknowledged that the existing classification of the plant “makes no sense.” He announced that he would ask the relevant offices to review how marijuana should be scheduled according to federal law.
Meanwhile, weed is legal for medicinal use in a significant majority of American states. One of the most important consequences of getting a medical card is legal protection. There are also a host of benefits, even if your state permits recreational use. This article briefly outlines how to get a medical marijuana card and discusses the pros of completing the process.
How to Apply for an MMJ Card
The medical marijuana card application process varies from one state to the next. However, most jurisdictions ensure it is similar to the following.
1 – Schedule a Doctor’s Consultation
In most states with an MMJ program, prospective patients need a doctor’s written certification to complete their applications. The onus is on you to find a “cannabis-friendly” physician and schedule an appointment. Before checking for physicians, look at the state’s list of qualifying conditions to see if you’re eligible.
The appointment itself usually lasts for about 15 minutes. The doctor will ask you a few questions and try to gauge whether or not getting a medical marijuana card will benefit you. If they think it will, they ‘approve’ you and provide written certification. Because marijuana is a federally illegal substance, doctors can’t prescribe it.
2 – Complete the State’s Application Process
In most states, the MMJ card process involves completing an online application. Apart from adding the doctor’s certification, you must include numerous personal details. You should have a driver’s license or another form of ID.
Remember, in almost every location, you can only apply for a medical marijuana card if you’re 18+, are a state resident, and have a qualifying condition. Minors may apply but only with the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
In some states, you have to mail your application, while other locations offer it as an option.
3 – Wait for Approval
At this point, all you can do is wait. If the state rejects your application, it could be several months before you’re allowed to reapply. How long you must wait for approval varies depending on the state. Some state programs process your application within a few days; others can take over a month.
If approved, you receive an MMJ card in the post, although a few states send temporary digital ‘cards’ that allow you to buy weed immediately. With the card in your possession, it’s time to visit a licensed dispensary in your state.
Why Should I Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card?
Legal protection is one of the best reasons to get an MMJ card. Once you have it, you don’t have to worry about being arrested for marijuana possession. That is, as long as you abide by the rules of your state’s medical marijuana program.
Please review the program's rules to ensure you don’t inadvertently break the law. If your state doesn’t allow the possession of over an ounce, make sure you obey! Otherwise, you could spend time in prison on a misdemeanor charge. In certain states, buying marijuana remains a felony.
In Arizona, for instance, adults aged 21+ can buy and possess up to an ounce of weed. With an MMJ card, you can buy up to 2.5 ounces in 14 days. However, if caught with more than 2.5 ounces, you face a felony charge and up to 18 months in prison, regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana card!
In states where recreational marijuana is legal, getting an MMJ card is still worthwhile. You tend to benefit from higher possession and cultivation limits. Even if you don’t, weed is usually cheaper due to lower taxes. Also, individuals aged 18-20 can apply for a medical marijuana card. In contrast, you need to be 21+ to avail of recreational weed.
Final Thoughts on Getting an MMJ Card
With most states running established programs, it is getting easier to apply for a medical marijuana card. With the card, you benefit from legal protection and may get cheaper products and a bigger selection. If you believe medical marijuana could help with your condition and live in a state with a working program, consider applying for an MMJ card today.