Monday, May 11, 2009

How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in California: 6 Easy Steps

There are six steps to getting your medical marijuana card in California. If you get your card, law enforcement will be able to call a 1-800 number to verify that you are legal. Being "legal" means that you are not subject to arrest for possession, transportation, delivery, or cultivation of medical marijuana in an amount established pursuant to California statute. After you are legal, you may posses 8 ounces of dried marijuana. In addition, you may simulaneously grow and possess 6 mature plants. Your card is good for a year and then you must renew it.

1. Find a doctor close to you that is willing to prescribe marijuana. You should ask your regular physician first to save money. If not, plan on pre-paying about $180 for a visit to a "pot-doc." A pot-doc is a physician who is openly empathetic to patients who want to be prescribed marijuana for their medical symptoms or pain. The doctor will determine whether you are eligible. Eligibility depends on whether a) you have a serious medical condition, and b) the use of marijuana is appropriate. (Note: Most people qualify under #6 or #12 below).

A serious medical condition is:
(1) Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
(2) Anorexia.
(3) Arthritis.
(4) Cachexia.
(5) Cancer.
(6) Chronic pain.
(7) Glaucoma.
(8) Migraine.
(9) Persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to,
spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
(10) Seizures, including, but not limited to, seizures associated
with epilepsy.
(11) Severe nausea.
(12) Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either:

(A) Substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct one
or more major life activities as defined in the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336).
(B) If not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient's
safety or physical or mental health.

2. Collect medical records as written documentation of your condition and give them to your doctor before the appointment. Attend your appointment and get a doctor's report.

3. Select a "primary caregiver." To find a caregiver (or dispensary), you can start by visiting NORML or THCF Foundation's websites. Some caregivers have stores (dispensaries) and some are delivery services. There may be long-term care facilities in your area. If you live near Fresno, this blog maintains a list of local doctors and caregivers.

4. Submit an application to your County Health Department. You must pay a fee with your application and provide all of the following: 1) name and proof of county residency, 2) your doctor's report saying you have a "serious" condition, 3) name and contact info of doctor, 4) name of primary caregiver, and 5) copy of photo id of you and your caregiver.

5. Receive your medical marijuana card.

6. Go shopping for your first sack or start growing!

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