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For patients living north of Los Angeles in Lancaster, Calif., the same healthcare options are available as those in the big city. In 1996, state law enacted the Medical Marijuana Program, legalizing cannabis for qualified patients. Recently, the state also passed a law legalizing recreational use, which will go into effect in 2018. Until then, you still need your Medical Marijuana Identification Card for access to dispensaries.
To get your card, follow these steps:
Only disorders that impact a patient’s quality of life are eligible for the program. This includes conditions that haven’t been effectively treated by mainstream pharmaceuticals. The following conditions qualify:
The first and arguably most important step in your application process is the doctor’s recommendation. This document proves to the state you’re a qualifying patient.
To get your recommendation, you must:
If the physician feels medical marijuana is a good treatment option for you, they’ll provide you with a letter of recommendation. A copy of this will be placed in your medical file. Then, you must sign a medical release to authorize your county’s staff to process your application.
Any doctor you meet must be committed to some aspect of your health care. They also must have a medical license or osteopathic license and practice medicine in the state. If finding a physician that meets these criteria is tricky for you, check out our search engine. You can skim through practice bios and doctor information to find the right medical professional for you.
For patients who find it difficult to travel — either because of distance or health reasons — try the telehealth portal. You can meet with a doctor using web video chats. Every aspect of your evaluation can be done remotely without having to leave your home.