Since all marijuana remains illegal under federal law, many people are still hesitant when it comes to applying for a medical marijuana card. Some of us grew up during a time when cannabis was stigmatized, and we still remember all the” War on Drugs” campaigns. But things have changed over the past decade, and nowadays, state governments are funding research on this plant’s medical benefits.
As we’re writing this article, 33 states and D.C. have medical marijuana programs, and 11 of these states allow adult-use cannabis. The process of getting a medical marijuana card depends on where you live. There are some similarities, but some states are more lenient than others. If you’re thinking of getting a card, here are a few things you should know.
What is a Medical Marijuana Card?
A medical marijuana card is a state-issued form of identification, which shows that you passed an evaluation to determine whether you have a qualifying medical condition, and you are legally allowed to purchase cannabis products in a dispensary in order to treat that condition. Non-patients without this card are often not allowed to enter the dispensary.
What Are the Qualifying Medical Conditions?
This also depends on the state. Terminal illnesses and serious medical conditions tend to qualify patients for a card in any state, but it’s best to look up the list for your state. Keep in mind that you may have a condition that’s not on the list, but you might still qualify because many states authorize doctors to determine whether a patient’s medical condition would benefit from treatment with medical marijuana.
Is Medical Marijuana Cheaper Than Recreational?
Again, this depends on the state, but medical marijuana is generally more affordable because taxes are lower. You also have to consider the quality of the product. The marijuana you can purchase from medical dispensaries is tested for impurities, unlike what you can find on the illicit market.
This means that if you’re not from a state where recreational use of cannabis has been legalized, and you want to treat a medical condition such as chronic pain with marijuana, your safest option is getting a card. Let’s say you’re from Maryland, so you may be asking yourself: is weed is legal in Maryland? Your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, but you’re worried about relying on opioid medications.
You look it up, and you find out that recreational use is illegal in Maryland, but, as of 2014, the possession of up to 10 grams has been decriminalized. Getting a medical card would still be a better solution because if you have to buy on the illicit market, you have no idea what THC content you’ll get, so you can’t calculate the dosage. Keep in mind that even if you’re from a state that allows recreational use, medical dispensaries are usually permitted to sell cannabis more suitable for treating medical conditions.
You’ll Need to Renew Your Card
Many people believe that once they get their medical marijuana card, it’s valid for life. That’s not the case. You will have to renew it every year, so you’ll have to go through the same process, which includes getting a recommendation from your doctor. It’s important you don’t wait until the last moment because you’ll lose all the benefits of having an MMJ card on the day it expires.