Chicago | August 3, 2020

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in the US

Medical use of Cannabis is legalized in 33 states of the US. Follow these procedures to get a medical marijuana card.


Thousands of years ago, cannabis was used as a medicine in India, China, and Egypt. Irish Physician, William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, came to India in the late 1830s. He was introduced to cannabis during his stay in India. He documented a number of medical applications of cannabis due to its analgesic and anticonvulsant effects. After his brief study in India, he returned to England in 1842 with a supply of cannabis. He then spread his knowledge on the medical effects of cannabis, which widely spread across Europe and the United States.

In the United States, medical cannabis is illegal today at the federal level, due to Cannabis being a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act. Under Federal Laws, Cannabis is considered to have no legal medical use. It is considered to have a higher chance of substance abuse than medical usage. As of January 2019, the Medical usage of cannabis is legalized in 33 states, District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. Fourteen other states have more restrictive laws limiting THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD) - a non-psychoactive component of cannabis.

In order to use cannabis medically in the United States, a patient needs to possess a medical marijuana card issued by a certified medical practitioner or doctor. A medical marijuana card allows a patient to obtain, possess or cultivate cannabis for medical use. In order to obtain a medical marijuana card, a patient is required to pay a fee to the state. In most states, the validity of this card is 12 months, after which it needs to be renewed. The card usually needs another evaluation by the doctor and is required to pay card fees again which costs less than initial registration. The different states have different requirements for obtaining a medical marijuana card.

Here some steps you need to follow to get a medical marijuana card.

Local Laws and Regulations

You must be aware of the local rules and regulations of your state on getting approved for a medical marijuana card. Each state has its own medical marijuana approval process which varies from state to state.

Residential Proofs

Residential Proofs is a must to prove your residency in the state. The documents which are allowed include a driver's license and/or a passport, as most states will require you to be a state resident to qualify for a medical marijuana card. Without having some form of residential proof, you won't be able to move forward.

Medical Conditions

In order to obtain a medical marijuana card, you need to know the health conditions that are usually permitted. The state's health and human services office will provide a list of medical conditions that qualify for a marijuana card. Typically, diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Autism, Cancer, Crohn's disease, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, Seizures, Wasting syndrome, etc.

Doctor`s Recommendation

You are supposed to acquire a recommendation letter, approved by your physician that medical marijuana will help alleviate the pain and/or discomfort of your specific health condition.

Medical Documentation

The majority of the states demand medical records to list any illness, disability, or injury that would be alleviated through the use of marijuana. Generally, the consulting physician will need to work directly with a state's department of health and/or human services to file the correct paperwork.

Renewal Process

Medical marijuana card has limited validity. It needs to be renewed based on local state laws and regulations. Once the card is expired, you need to apply for renewals.

Every state has different laws on a medical marijuana card. In the future, we would be coming up with a blog on laws on medical marijuana state-wise.

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