All of our information comes from, and will direct you to, that state’s specific governing body. We will not direct you to any 3rd party or otherwise externally collected information. We believe that putting patients in touch with information directly from their state is the safest way of helping people obtain medical marijuara. We’ve sorted through those sometimes laborious state run websites and will guide you to the right sections, forms, applications, applicable rules and laws, and anything else you need to get medical marijuana safely and legally.
If you’re a resident of the “All For Our Country” state – Nevada – and need to get medical marijuana, the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program has been in existence since 2001 and has helped thousands of patients control pain and other symptoms related to certain medical conditions like cancer or seizures.
In order to get medical marijuana in Nevada, a patient has to submit a request in writing for an application packet with a check for $50 payable to the Nevada State Health Division. The written request needs to include:
- The address where the applicant can be reached.
- A request for a caregiver packet if the patient has a caregiver.
- If a request is being made for someone else, the name and address of that person needs to be included with the request.
- If a request is being made for a minor, include a request for a minor release.
The packet also will include a Physician’s Statement which requires a physician licensed with the state to provide proof of medical necessity for marijuana use by the applicant.
Chronic or Debilitating Medical Condition
Like other legal medical marijuana programs, the Nevada Medical Marijuana Program has specific guidelines about the types of medical conditions a patient has to experience in order to qualify. To get medical marijuana, a patient has to suffer from one of the following as documented by a physician licensed by the state:
- Or “a medical condition or treatment for a medical condition that produces, for a specific patient, one or more of the following:” Cachexia, also known as “wasting syndrome” where the patient experiences physical wasting or malnutrition associated with a particular condition; persistent muscle spasms including those caused by multiple sclerosis; seizures, including those caused by epilepsy; severe nausea; severe pain; or any other chronic or debilitating condition classified as such by the state, or per applicable state laws.
General Facts About the Program
For patients who qualify for the program, he or she may be in possession at any one time of no more than one ounce of marijuana, or three mature plants or four immature plants that are being cultivated. An “Immature marijuana plant” is a marijuana plant with no observable flowers or buds, while a “Mature marijuana plant” has flowers or buds easily observable by “an unaided visual examination.”
- There are 3,430 Nevada residents who hold registration cards as of July 1, 2012.
- For the one year period (July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011), the department received 1,143 requests for new card applications.
- Most card holders reside in Clark County – 2,325, with the rest in Washoe County (479) and spread throughout the state (626).
- An “attending physician” is defined in the law as a state licensed MD or DO with responsibility for the care and treatment of a person diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition.
- A “designated primary caregiver” is defined as a person 18 years or older with responsibility for the care and wellbeing of a patient diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating medical condition.
- The Nevada Medical Marijuana Program cannot refer patients to a physician.
- The Nevada Medical Marijuana Program does not refer patients to sources where they can purchase seeds to cultivate marijuana, nor to places where seeds or paraphernalia can be purchased.
Colorado was an early adopter of a legalized medical marijuana program, and in the last 10 plus years thousands of residents with qualifying conditions have been able to get medical marijuana identification cards to control their pain and suffering. According to the state, 180,925 residents have applied to the program, with 98,910 possessing valid registry cards as of May, 2012. But it’s not just medical marijuana garnering attention in the Rocky Mountain State – residents are getting ready to vote on Amendment 64, which would legalize marijuana and provide the same regulations as those for alcohol. The end result? A cool $60 million to $100 million in state coffers.
As is the case with in other states, a person in the state of Colorado needs to fill out several forms and submit them to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for consideration. All forms submitted must be original, not copies, and include signatures of all concerned parties if possible: the patient, caregiver, and physician.
In 2001, residents in Colorado approved Amendment 20, tasking the CDPHE with creating and managing the Medical Marijuana Registry program. The program has been strengthened over the years with other statutes and bills either passed or pending, including:
- 25-1.5-106 (Medical Marijuana Program, powers and duties of department)
- 18-18-406.3 (Medical use of marijuana by persons suffering from debilitating conditions)
- 0-4-287 – Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution (providing more clarity about patients, conditions, and medical use)
- Senate Bill 10-109
- House Bill 10-1284
- House Bill 11-1043
In order to receive a medical marijuana identification card and get medical marijuana in Colorado, a patient must meet certain medical requirements. According to the Colorado Constitution, the patient must suffer from one or more of the following “debilitating medical conditions:”
- Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or treatment for such conditions, or
- The “patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces one or more of the following and which, in the physician’s professional opinion, may be alleviated by the medical use of marijuana:” Cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, and severe pain
But Not These
However, in order to get medical marijuana in Colorado, understand that not all medical conditions qualify. The following have been deemed insufficient to receive an identification card: Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Bi-polar Disease, Chron’s Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, types 1 & 2, Diabetic Retinopathy, Hepatitis C, Hypertension, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Opiod Dependence, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Severe Anxiety and Clinical Depression, and Tourette’s Syndrome.
Tips for Success
- Schedule an appointment with a doctor in good standing with the Colorado Medical Board.
- Renewal patients should submit their applications 45-60 days before their card expires.
- Only use the most current forms and applications available online.
- Fill out the forms completely, and use good penmanship.
- If you make a mistake, throw that form away and start with a fresh form or application.
- Forms should be signed and dated in the presence of a Notary, who in turn signs and dates the forms.
- Pay any required fees. Check with the CDPHE for details.
- Include all required IDs.
- Complete all required forms.
- Submit all forms in the same envelope.
- Submit all forms within 60 days of a doctor’s signature and within 10 days of a notary’s signature.
Finally, never assume that you can get medical marijuana in Colorado with little or no effort. Educate yourself, and ask questions if necessary.
Marijuana for medical purposes was legalized in Montana in 2004 and the law has survived more than one attempt to get it repealed, including earlier in 2012. But patients in need of medical marijuana can still get the drug if the follow the right procedures. In order to get medical marijuana, a patient needs a doctor’s recommendation, and can grow and cultivate the plant, or purchase it from caregiver collectives.
Get Medical Marijuana in Montana
Patients with a legitimate medical need can obtain marijuana, but only after applying for a registry card through the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS). Applicant information is required in form, as well as verification of where the patient will actually obtain the marijuana. Other requirements for the application process include:
- A $75 application fee is required when the application is submitted.
- A photocopy of a valid Montana driver’s license or other state issued identification.
- Applicable physician statement.
- If the patient applicant is requesting a provider or marijuana infused products provider (MIPP), the provider/MIPP must sign page two of the application form. Any individual who wishes to be a provider/MIPP must first register with the state by completing the provider/MIPP packet.
Other forms are also available and can be downloaded from the DPHHS website. These forms include:
- The landlord permission form.
- Change request form.
- Physician’s statement for a debilitating medical condition.
- Minor registered cardholder (patient) application.
- Physician’s statement for minors.
- Physician’s statement for a chronic pain diagnosis.
- Provider/Marijuana Infused Products Provider Application Form.
Qualifying Conditions and Symptoms
Patients who wish to get medical marijuana must have proof from a doctor that he or she suffers from one or more of the following: Cancer, glaucoma or positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome when the condition or disease results in symptoms that seriously and adversely affect the patient’s health status; Cachexia or wasting syndrome; Intractable nausea or vomiting; Epilepsy or an intractable seizure disorder; Multiple sclerosis; Chron’s disease; Painful peripheral neuropathy; A central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms; or admittance into a hospice. In order to get medical marijuana in Montana that patient needs to provide proof of their condition through test results and other documentation.
There have been a number of changes to the Montana Marijuana Program that can affect concerned parties. Here is information to be aware of before and after submitting an application.
- Marijuana Infused Products Provider (MIPP) is a “Montana resident who meets the requirements of the law, and who has applied for and received a registry ID card to manufacture and provide marijuana-infused products for a registered cardholder.”
- Registered cardholder means a registered patient with a qualifying, debilitating medical condition who has and maintains a valid registry card.
- Resident is a person who does not claim residency in another state or country for any reason. An absentee property owner who pays property taxes is not considered a Montana resident under the law and cannot get medical marijuana through the program.
Finally, there are some common questions that people ask about the program, like how long is my registry card valid? And where can I get information on seeds or cuttings to get started? The card is valid until the expiration date printed on the card and must be carried at all times; the state doesn’t provide information on growing or cultivation, but recommends the patient searches online or consults with family, friends, or other resources.
Medical marijuana was legalized by voters in California in 1996, but a movement’s afoot to shutdown storefront dispensaries in Los Angeles as soon as September. Back in July, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to close all the dispensaries, resulting in a lawsuit by proponents of legalized marijuana. Some in the media are calling it a case of “buyer’s remorse,” but for thousands of people with a legitimate medical need, the question remains: How do patients get medical marijuana in California?
As is the case within other states, a person in the state of California needs to fill out a form to receive a medical marijuana identification card, and a written document of the patient’s medical records with the Department of Public Health.
In 1996, residents in California approved the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, also known as Proposition 215, the first medical marijuana measure voted into law in the United States. The program was strengthened in 2003 with the passage of Senate Bill 420, requiring the California Department of Public Health to create and manage the Medical Marijuana Program. This allows a patient to get medical marijuana as needed, if his or her application and supporting documents are approved.
In order to receive a medical marijuana identification card and get medical marijuana in California, a patient has to be a resident of California and 18 years of age or older, or have permission from his or her parent or legal guardian, to participate in the program. The patient must also provide supporting documentation about his or her medical history. According to Senate Bill 420, the patient must suffer from one or more of the following “serious medical conditions:”
- Chronic Pain
- Persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
- Seizures, including, but not limited to, seizures associated with epilepsy
- Severe nausea, and
- Any other condition that “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)” and if not alleviated could cause serious harm to the person’s physical or mental health.
There are two primary forms that a patient needs to fill out and submit in order to get medical marijuana: the Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal Form, and the Medical Marijuana Program Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records.
- The Medical Marijuana Program Application/Renewal Form includes five sections: Section 1, to be completed by all applicants (patient, primary caregiver only, or patient and primary caregiver); section 2, to be completed by a minor application under the age of 18; section 3, to be completed by a parent, legal guardian, or someone else on behalf of a patient unable to fill out the form; section four, to be completed by the primary caregiver requesting an identification card; and section 5, where the attending physician is identified. In all cases, a signature is required.
- The Medical Marijuana Program Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records. This form is to be completed by the attending physician, who is either licensed by the Medical Board of California or Osteopathic Medical Board of California. The physician’s signature is required.
In addition to the forms, the patient must provide proof of residency and pay the application fee, which varies by county. Detailed information, including the location of dispensaries and county offices, are available online at the state Department of Public Health.
For a state that’s tougher on undocumented foreign workers than any in the country, you may think Arizona also would be equally restrictive when it comes to laws regulating marijuana for medicinal purposes, for instance. Guess what? You’d be right. While the state in 2010 become one of only 17 in the nation with a legal medical marijuana program, it’s very difficult for a resident to get medical marijuana if needed.
But even with Arizona Revised Statutes Title 36 – Arizona Medical Marijuana Act – strictly enforced, proponents of the state’s medical marijuana program have found an interesting nugget to chew on. According to some media reports, the state has seen a rush of applicants vying to become licensed dispensaries for medical marijuana. In fact, many of the early applications are out of state individuals or businesses already established in the field. The upshot, however, is that if a patient needs to get medical marijuana in Arizona, there’s no shortfall of businesses clamoring for your cash.
As with any state with a legal medical marijuana program, Arizona is no different in that the legislature has a rigorous and thorough application process a patient has to go through in order to get medical marijuana. The advantage is all of the applications – for an adult patient, a patient under 18, caregivers, and physicians – can be filled out online through the Arizona Department of Health Services – Medical Marijuana Program website.
Qualify to Get Medical Marijuana
For a patient who needs medical marijuana, the process depends on an application for a qualifying patient card. The general requirements are:
“A qualifying patient, who has been diagnosed with one of the debilitating medical conditions will need to get a written certification from a physician (medical doctor, osteopath, naturopath, or homeopath licensed to practice in Arizona) with whom he/she has a physician-patient relationship. The written certification has to be on a form provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services (Department) within 90 days before submitting an application for a registry identification card. After obtaining the written certification from the physician, the qualifying patient can apply online for a registry identification card, after April 14, 2011.”
In order to get medical marijuana in Arizona, a person has to be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or the treatment of these conditions. The condition or treatment must produce: cachexia (aka “wasting syndrome”); severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
Common Questions for Qualifying Patients
Patients who need medical marijuana likely have many questions, and the best place to start is through the Arizona Department of Health Services – Medical Marijuana Program website. Some of the most common questions are:
- Can I walk into your offices and apply in-person? No. The application is a solely online process.
- I can’t afford the full cost of the qualifying patient card. Can I get some help? For patients who are on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the cost of the card is reduced from $150 to $75.
Finally, if a patient thinks he or she or a loved one has a condition that should be on the list of qualifying conditions, what can be done? Patients suffering from a condition not on the approved list can submit a written request to the Department of Health Services
Marijuana for medical purposes was legalized in Michigan in 2008 with passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, but some ambiguity in the law as to the difference between a “patient” and a “registered qualifying patient” has led patients to wonder if they need to register with the state. The short answer is yes, any patient who would like to get medical marijuana in Michigan should first register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
In order to get medical marijuana, a patient needs a doctor’s recommendation, and can grow and cultivate the plant, or purchase it from caregiver collectives. There are no traditional dispensaries in Michigan.
Get Medical Marijuana in Michigan
Patients with a legitimate medical need can obtain marijuana, but only after applying for a Medical Marihuana Registry Identification Card through the state. The form has several components and required types of information:
- Section A, Applicant/Patient Information; all fields are required.
- Section B, Primary Caregiver, if applicable. According to the state, “primary caregiver means a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marijuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.”
- Section C, Person Allowed to Possess Patient’s Marihuana Plants; all fields are required.
- Section D, Certifying Physician Information; all fields are required.
- Section E, Attestation, Signature, and Date; all fields are required.
To get medical marijuana in Michigan, the application requires: Copy of the patient’s current photo identification, physician certification from a licensed MD or DO, caregiver attestation and copy of the caregiver’s current photo identification, application fee (a check or money order for $100, or $25 if the patient is receiving public assistance), and copy of proof of assistance if applicable. Applications are reviewed within 15 days of receipt.
The section of the form for physician certification lists the medical conditions a person must have in order to get medical marijuana: Glaucoma, cancer, HIV or AIDS positive, Hepatitis C, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease, or Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease. The form also states a patient can have a condition that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia, Severe and Chronic Pain, Severe Nausea, Seizures, or Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms.
Other forms are also available and can be downloaded from the LARA website. These forms include:
- Application and Instruction Form for Minors
- Change Form and Instructions
- Renewal Application Form and Instructions
- Renewal Application Form and Instructions for Minors
According to some media reports, opponents of medical marijuana are gearing up for a legislative battle by introducing two bills that could make it harder for patients to obtain the drug for medical reasons. These bills are:
- House Bill 4851 is an effort to clarify and make clearer the definition of a doctor-patient relationship needed for medical marijuana cardholders. Some law makers are concerned it’s too easy to get doctor verification via email or the internet instead of a face to face meeting.
- HB 4834 is on the docket and would give law enforcement or other officials access to medical marijuana patient information. The bill seems to imply that a registry cardholder also would need to have some other form of government-issued ID with a photo like a driver’s license — to avoid arrest in some cases.
Though the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act is relatively new, 131,483 Michigan residents have used it to get medical marijuana in the state.
For anyone suffering from chronic pain or other symptoms associated with cancer, glaucoma, or another serious or debilitating medical condition, the decision to use marijuana for medical reasons may be difficult to come to. Depending on where a patient lives, there are legal concerns. Most states, in fact, do not allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, thereby putting a person with medical need in the position of being a law breaker.
But in the states where a patient can get medical marijuana, the easiest way to do that is through a medical marijuana dispensary. A medical marijuana dispensary sometimes referred to as marijuana collective or just collective, is a state licensed business that sells marijuana plants or seeds or other related paraphernalia.
What to Look Out For
Here are some things to be aware of when looking for a medical marijuana dispensary:
- Shop local. If you’re suffering from a painful medical condition resulting in the need to ingest marijuana, look for the store or collective nearest to you. If your state has a legal medical marijuana program, or simply allows the use of marijuana for a documented medical reason, then store locations may be available on the state website or through a generic web search.
- Ask questions. A medical marijuana dispensary is like any other business, and that’s to make money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: How long have you been in business? Can you provide me with referrals? What forms of payment do you accept? And perhaps most importantly, ask if the dispensary is licensed by the state and do they have proof of that license. Verify it with the state before making a purchase.
- The overall experience. While a dispensary may be licensed in your state, that doesn’t necessarily mean its proprietors will provide the type of buying experience you may receive from a boutique clothing store, for instance. For those wishing to get medical marijuana in Washington, the experience may be akin to visiting a store in the worst part of town – heavy duty security doors, bars on the windows, cashiers protected by two inch thick, bullet proof glass. The flip side is some dispensaries are modeled after a doctor’s office and will cater not only to patients with specific medical conditions, but may offer more personalized or concierge services where customer satisfaction is their chief concern. Most medical marijuana patients don’t want to purchase from a collective or dispensary where “stoners” may hang out all the time.
- Knowledge. Chances are that as a medical marijuana user, or someone whose doctor has recommended the use of marijuana to control pain or symptoms of an illness, you are knowledgeable about your condition and how it affects you physically and psychologically. The staff at a medical marijuana dispensary should share in that knowledge base in some regards, and be able to offer advice or feedback on how to improve your qualify of life.
- Quality of the medicine. Any state licensed medical marijuana dispensary should follow the highest standards related to the quality of the products they sell. This means paying attention to the potency of medical marijuana (of THC-CBD-THCA, for instance), what process was used to flush excess fertilizers from the marijuana, and how the plant was cured and processed. Also be aware that some dispensaries also sell “medibles” or products like food and candy made with medical marijuana.
Finally, anyone looking for a medical marijuana dispensary needs to educate themselves about the industry and know what to expect before making a purchase.