California Medical Marijuana

Updated on January 23, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

California Medical Marijuana Program: Contact Details

California Department of Public Health
Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program
MS 5202
P.O. Box 997377
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Phone: (916) 552-8600
Fax: (916) 440-5591
Website: California Medical Marijuana Program

California Medical Marijuana Program: Information

  1. Patients must be eighteen (18) years of age. If a patient is under the age of eighteen (18) the patient’s parent or legal guardian must approve, unless they are emancipated or declated self-sufficient status.
  2. Patients must provide proof of identity via California DMV Driver’s License or State or Government issued Identification Card.
  3. Patients must be a resident of the state of California and provide proof of residency through either a rental or mortgage agreement, utility bill or California DMV motor vehicle registration.
  4. Patient must be diagnosed with a Qualifying Condition, as defined by Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27, Statues of 2017).
  5. Patient must obtain a certified physician’s recommendation along with documented medical records.
  6. You must apply in person at your County Program for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)
  7. In person, you must submit your application as well as:
    • The Application Fee is not to exceed $100.00. Medi-Cal beneficiaries will receive a fifty percent (50%) reduction. Fees will also be waived for indignet patients who are eligible and participate in the County Medical Services Program.
    • Photo that will appear on your MMIC taken.
  8. After the application form with the required documents is submitted to the County Program, the county has five (5) days to verify your application. The MMIC can take up to thirty-five (35) days to if your application is complete and approved.

Recent Legislation Changes

As legislation in California changes, check back to this section for updates about the medical and recreational marijuana programs.

California medical marijuana users, as well as recreational users, rejoiced when, on November 8, 2016, voters approved Amendment 64, which put an end to cannabis prohibition in the state. Also known as AUMA (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act), the measure requires that the state tax and regulate weed in a manner much like alcohol. The Amendment passed by a 56 percent vote.

However, California has a long history of being ahead of the curve when it comes to marijuana legislation. On November 05, 1996, 56% of voters approved Ballot Proposition 215, effective November 06, which removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients possessing either a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician, advising that he or she may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

On January 01, 2004, Senate Bill 420, was effectively amended, imposing statewide guidelines on how much medicinal marijuana patients may cultivate or possess.

On August 25, 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, released guidelines for law enforcement and medical marijuana patients, titled “Guidelines for the Security and Non-division of Marijuana Grown for Medicinal Use“. The non-binding document clarifies the state’s law. It also outlines the definition of a recommended physician as someone who:

  • Possesses a license in good standing in the state of California
  • Has taken responsibility for some aspect of the patient’s care, such as the medical care, treatment, counseling, diagnosis, or referral
  • Has complied with all accepted medical standards

It also gives the Medical Board of California the right to investigate physicians who do not comply with accepted medical standards which include but are not limited to: taking a medical history of the patients, conducting a thorough physican examination of the patient, developing a treatment plan with clear objectives, providing informed consent and informing patient of side effects, checking in on treatment’s efficacy, consulting, and keeping proper records of the patient’s treatment with medical marijuana.

On October 09, 2015, California Attorney General, Jerry Brown, signed three bills to regulate California’s medical marijuana industry, covering licensing requirements for cultivation, distribution, transportation, and more: AB 243, AB 266, and SB 634.

On June 27, 2017, Senate Bill 94, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) was signed into law. This repealed the MCRSA and consolidated the state’s medicinal and adult use cannabis regulatory systems. (Ibid.) In general, the MAUCRSA imposed similar requirements on both commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activity.

    • MAUCRSA reduced and eliminated certain criminal penalties related to cannabis and continued to exempt qualified patients and their primary caregivers from certain criminal penalties like decreasing penalties for unlawful possession of cannabis and unlawful cultivation in excess of six plants.
      • Under MAUCRSA, most criminal offenses related to cannabis for a person 18 years or older are punishable as an infraction or misdemeanor. Some offenses may still lead to felony enhancement.
      • MAUCRSA also partially exempted medicinal patients to some taxes, including “sales and use taxes”.
      • Under MAUCRSA, medicinal cannabis cooperatives and collectives are required to obtain state licenses to operate as of Jan 10, 2019. exceptions to this requirement include individual patients and caregiver gardens serving no more than five patients.

In April 2018, the Medical Board of California issued its “Guidelines for the Recommendation of Cannabis for Medical Purposes.” The acceptable standard for medical responsibility are the same ones that a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when recommending any medication. These include: Physician-patient relationship, patient evaluation, informed and shared decision making, treatment agreement, qualifying conditions, ongoing monitoring and adapting treatment, consultation and referral, medical records, and physician conflict of interest. (

In August 2019, California Department of Justice released the “Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Cannabis Grown for Medicinal Use”. This clarifies the state’s laws governing medicinal cannabis, specifically related to enforcement, transportation, and use of medicinal cannabis. (

SB-1127 allows California schools to decide if parents can give their children medical marijuana on school premises. Students would need a recommendation from a doctor, and the marijuana cannot be stored on campus. (

California Medical Marijuana Program: Possession and Cultivation Regulations

Qualified medical marijuana patients in California and their primary caregivers may possess no more than eight ounces of dried marijuana, and/or six mature (or 12 immature) marijuana plants. However, Senate Bill 420 allows patients to possess larger amounts of marijuana when recommended by a physician. The legislation also allows counties and municipalities to approve and/or maintain local ordinances permitting patients to possess larger quantities of medicinal cannabis than allowed under the new state guidelines.

Senate Bill 420 also grants implied legal protection to the state’s medicinal marijuana dispensaries, stating the following:

“Qualified patients, persons with valid identification cards, and the designated primary caregivers of qualified patients … who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.”

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California Qualification

Patients suffering from a wide range of symptoms are eligible to obtain medical marijuana in California. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • any other condition or illness that is considered chronic, persistent and debilitating.

Our section on Who Qualifies for Marijuana in California provides detailed information on qualification guidelines in the state, as well as restrictions on age and much more.

California Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Services Online

There are only five states that don’t require medical cannabis patients to go to a doctor’s office to visit with recommending physicians, and California is one of them. Physicians and patients are allowed to establish a relationship through telemedicine. Qualified patients, in California, may now choose to see a marijuana doctor online instead of in-person, using medical marijuana telemedicine services for the purpose of obtaining a California medical marijuana evaluation:

see a marijuana doctor online and on-demand, via the telemedicine portal, now

The State of California has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued California Medical Marijuana ID Card, permitting the patient to grow and/or purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per California state guidelines.

Since the California medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new California medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the California medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about California’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following California medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of California’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in California.

Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of California’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states”.

California Medical Marijuana Laws

One of the more interesting facts about California medical marijuana laws is that parolees and people on probation may be able to use medicinal cannabis in some instances as long as a judge allows it. Another interesting fact is that some airports are relatively lenient regarding medicinal weed, while others are extremely strict.

If you would like more information, check out our section on California’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws so you are as informed as possible.

California Medical Marijuana Card

Even though possession of a small amount of weed was legalized in 2016, Californians won’t be able to purchase recreational weed until recreational dispensary licenses are issued. This wasn’t expected to occur until late 2017 at the earliest.

In the meantime, patients wishing to legally purchase pot must first obtain a medical marijuana card. Our California Medical Marijuana Card section provides in-depth information on how the process of getting a card works.

California Medical Marijuana Facts

Even though medical marijuana in California is legal, that doesn’t mean patients are exempt from drug testing by their employers. Companies still have the right to fire patients who test positive for weed, even if they are legally allowed to use if for medical reasons. offers a California Medical Marijuana Facts section that will help you separate facts from fiction so you are completely informed regarding the issue of cannabis use in the state.

Doctors in California

Learn more about medical marijuana doctors in California by checking out our listings in your city:

Dispensaries in California

Learn more about dispensaries in California by checking out our listings in your city:

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Finally, a helpful & informative website! answered all of my medical marijuana questions and helped me schedule an appointment with an accredited doctor in my area.~Susan - Denver, CO