Legal State Medical Cannabis Card Process

Medical Marijuana Card:

As of January 2014, the legalization of medical marijuana has extended to 20 states and the District of Columbia. Both medical marijuana and medical marijuana cards are granted to patients who suffer from various types of illness, diseases, debilitating conditions or chronic pain/symptoms that are not eased by high dosage opiates. Medical marijuana is a both a natural and an alternative medicine provided to patients in order to improve their quality of life and rid them of the debilitating effects of their diagnosed condition. As of January 2014, medical marijuana is legalized in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In certain states, patients may apply for their state medical marijuana card assuming they qualify under the listed medical conditions outlined by the department of health services, for their respective state. While each state has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, individual state jurisdiction laws are set in place that govern the growing, harvesting, selling, distributing, using and possessing medical marijuana.

Seven states are currently pending legalization of approving the use of medical marijuana for inquiring patients. If legislation passes, medical marijuana would be legalized in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Currently, Kentucky is the only state that is pending legislation and is favorable towards medicinal marijuana, but would not legalize its use. Medical marijuana bills have failed in nearly 11 states in 2012. Bills failed to either gain enough support with their respective legislature or violated federal law in the states of Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Defining the “Approved” Use of Medical Marijuana:

First and foremost, all marijuana use, whether medical or not, remains illegal under federal law. Even if marijuana can be approved and legalized through legislation of an individual state, it is not condoned by federal law. The growing support and appreciation of medical marijuana has placed this alternative medicine into a category of high demand. States are now allowing the placement of propositions on voting ballots, so registered voters may decide whether or not their respective state should allow the legalization of medical marijuana and the authorization of patients to use it. In 20 states and the District of Columbia that have approved marijuana for medical usage as of January 2014 patients who are approved through a medical marijuana recommendation, evaluation and medical marijuana card registry process by a licensed physician, can legally purchase, possess and in certain cases cultivate their own marijuana plants. Patients are allowed to use marijuana as an alternative medicine to both alleviate and treat their diagnosed diseases, ailments, illnesses and chronic symptoms to achieve pain relief.

The Necessity of a Medical Marijuana Card:

Medical marijuana cards are not only a matter of being registered to receive medicine, but a matter of both legality and common sense. If patients do not possess a medical marijuana card in their respective state, by accordance to both federal and state law, they are using the medication illegally. Patients who illegally use marijuana may be subjected to harsh civil and criminal penalties depending on their state of residence. Only after receiving an evaluation, recommendation and medical marijuana card through a registry process, and only then, may patients be allowed to use medical marijuana and its use is to be tolerated by law. Patients need to consider a medical marijuana card as both their only access to their desired medicine through facilities such as medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, wellness centers and clinics, and also as the legal protection they so desparately need in their state. A medical marijuana card ensures that you are a registered patient within your state and helps avoid any possibly legal issues regarding possession of medical marijuana that may ensue without one.

Length of Validity for a Medical Marijuana Card:

Medical marijuana cards are issued by a Public Health Department or Human Resources Department in the patient's state of residence and are usually valid for up to one year. After a patient's medical marijuana card expires, they must then renew their medical marijuana card, following the same process as when the patient originally applied. The renewal process includes verifying your information and receipt of a new medical marijuana registry card and new number. In the event that the patient's medical documentations are still valid, they may use them for the renewal. In some cases, patients may be required to obtain medical documentation and the state's program will verify any other information required for the renewal process. A primary caregiver's card, will expire when their designated patient's medical marijuana card expires, even if less than a year.

The Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card:

A patient's medical marijuana card shields the patient from any problems regarding legal protection and prosecution for both use and possession of marijuana in their respective state. It is also often referred to as the "golden ticket" to provide access to all medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, wellness centers, etc. These facilities are absolutely essential for a patient to receive their recommended alternative medicine. Though laws vary in each state in regarding patients actually cultivating their own medicine, in states where cultivation is permitted, a medical marijuana card allows holders to grown certain amounts for their personal use. Above all, a medical marijuana card ensures patients are law abiding citizens in compliance with all state laws governing medical marijuana.