California’s Medical Marijuana Program
California was the very first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana and it has some of the most relaxed laws on the matter. Originally, when legislation was approved for medical marijuana in 1996 through Prop 215, there was no limit on the amount a patient could possess. However, in 2003, the state passed a measure that restricts patients to 8 ounces of dried marijuana and 6 mature plants.
Under California’s medical marijuana law, patients may be recommended marijuana for the following conditions:
- Chronic Pain
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent Muscle Spasms
- Severe Nausea
- Any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician”
How to Apply For a Medical Marijuana Card in California
In California, in order to become a legal medical marijuana patient, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a Californian resident with a valid state ID, passport or other photo ID, along with a document that shows proof of residency (such as a CA utility bill statement).
- You must request and obtain your medical records that shows a diagnosis by a licensed physician of a qualifying condition.
- You must be at least 18 years old. If you are not 18 or older, you must be accompanied by a guardian.
- You must receive a medical recommendation for medical marijuana from a CA state-licensed physician stating that you stand to benefit from the use of medical cannabis.
In CA, the Medical Marijuana Program was set up to provide an identification process for qualified patients. Through a registry, a patient is more easily verified by law enforcement for using medical marijuana.
In order to get a card, you must get a recommendation from your physician to use medical marijuana and submit it, along with an application to the following address:
California Department of Public Health
County Health Services Branch
Medical Marijuana Program
P.O. Box 997413
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
Along with the application, you must also submit identification, proof of residency, the written recommendation from your doctor, and an application fee. The fee is currently $66.00 per card for non Medi-Cal patients and $33.00 for Medi-Cal patients. However, each county adds administration fees that vary, so be sure to check with your local county.
Renewing requires the same process as when you originally applied. If your medical documentation is still valid, you may use this for your renewal. Otherwise treat it like the first time you applied.