With an ever-increasing number of states decriminalizing and/or legalizing medical and recreational marijuana we are entering a new age of in the fight to normalize cannabis use. Little by little the taboo of the marijuana user—the pothead, the cannabis-fiend—is being phased out.
This last statement is particularly true in California after the recent passage of Proposition 64, which legalized not only medical marijuana use, but recreational cannabis consumption as well.
Despite its legal status, however, Californians still need to have a medical cannabis card in order to purchase legal cannabis, and thus, you need to get a recommendation from a medical marijuana doctor, at least until recreational licenses are issued to dispensaries, which won’t happen until January, 2018, and possibly later knowing how slow bureaucracy is.
Luckily for Californians, since the passage of the Compassionate Care Act of 1996, the Venn diagram of doctors and those who can provide a recommendation for medical marijuana is a single circle. In brief, the CCA acknowledges and reinforces its stance that marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, but stipulates that “prohibitions against cultivation and possession of cannabis do not apply to a seriously ill patient (and his or her “primary caregiver”) who possesses or cultivates cannabis for (the patient’s) personal medical treatment, with the oral or written recommendation or approval of a physician.”
An industry-wide moratorium and/or hesitance by medical professionals to prescribe cannabis for treatment is a big hurdle for patients looking to medicate with cannabis, and can be traced back to the early days of the Compassionate Care Act when, right after its passage, the then Drug Czar under the Clinton Administration Barry McCaffrey threatened (unsuccessfully) to prosecute any medical professional that prescribes medical cannabis. Despite the fact medical professionals aren’t at risk for recommending cannabis as a treatment, this fear (however misplaced) is quite common amongst diagnosticians.
Whatever the reason that some medical professionals avoid prescribing cannabis; there are still medical marijuana doctors throughout California willing to recommend the chronic as a form of medication. Though a Google search for “medical marijuana evaluations near me” may find the closest brick-and-mortar physician that is willing to prescribe marijuana as medication, due to California law permitting video conferencing as a legitimate means to diagnose, the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to see a medical marijuana doctor and subsequently get a medical marijuana card is via the Internet.
What are the Prerequisites to Get a Weed Card?
Yes, you need the approval of a certified and 4/20 friendly medical professional like the ones who work with NuggMD, but you also need to be at least 18 years old in California. There’s a list of ailments (under the CCA) that permit cannabis as a medication, including: “seizures, cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and anorexia,” but luckily for California residents, the law is vague and also includes “any illness that is not directly listed…that medical cannabis may help relieve symptoms for.”
Since medical marijuana laws vary from state to state, oftentimes the early adopters set a framework that is copied in a newer state, and rules and regulations oftentimes overlap. However, there is no explicit law that prevents non-California residents from seeing an MMJ doctor and getting an MMJ card in California. The only problem arising is that many doctors are not aware of this caveat, and are not willing to prescribe an MMJ card. This too, is remedied by 420 doctors and online MMJ services like NuggMD. However, the same problem applies to dispensaries that may not be willing to sell to out of state visitors despite having a medical card, but marijuana delivery services are more willing to accept this as a norm.
If you decide to pursue obtaining a medical marijuana card via in-person consultation, please feel free to search doctors in your area willing to prescribe the card. But do your research first. You’ll find 420 evaluations in San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, and every major metropolitan city up and down california. But if, like so many of the Gen Y-ers that are on the go and don’t have a fixed schedule to book an appointment, you would like to get a medical card online, here’s a step by step guide:
Step 1: Get online
Using a web-enabled device, find a site that offers online consultation. Services like NuggMD offer a simple and secure online process that is cheaper than an in-person consultation ($39 for a new-patient) and also offers many ancillary benefits like partnerships with dispensaries and bud advice that a medical professional may not be willing or able to provide.
Step 2: Initial paperwork
An initial intake form is required wherein the service will ask for a report of your medical history (usually just a quick questionnaire) and certain documents to verify your age and U.S. citizenship status.
Step 3: Online Doctor Consultation
Next, you will be able to consult with a doctor who will answer all your questions regarding medical cannabis and use. This consultation, being online, can take place anywhere, even from the comfort of your own home. Services like NuggMD offer 420 doctors from 8am to 10 pm with consultations clocking in well-under the 10-minute mark, but there is no time limit on your consultation if you don’t want there to be.
Gone are the problems associated with getting off work to book an appointment, or worries about any social stigma (i.e. being seen in public at an MMJ doctor). All the information discussed in your consultation is protected by HIPAA and will not be shared or be able to be accessed by a (curious) public.
Step 4: Temporary MMJ card/first (few) purchase(s)
After being approved during the consultation, you will be immediately able to purchase medical marijuana. NuggMD sends an instant PDF download for your files that is your MMJ proof. This is for your records and should be put away somewhere safe.
With this PDF, you technically have access to any of California’s dispensaries, but it’s common knowledge that most dispensaries will require your official paper recommendation upon first visit. Luckily, that won’t stop you form using your PDF to order delivery online through marketplace services like Getnugg.com (a sister-site of NuggMD).
Your official paper recommendation is mailed the same day as your appointment and usually arrives in 3-5 days. This piece of paper is the recommendation that will grant you access to any and all of the wonderful dispensaries California has to offer.
Keep in mind, your recommendation must be renewed once every year, and if you opted for an ID card as well, you’ll need a marijuana card renewal too.
Step 5: Physical card (optional)
This is an optional step, but makes it so you don’t need to lug around an easily lost or damaged piece of paper when you’re procuring buds in-person. A medical card will be delivered to you should you choose to purchase one (NuggMD offers it for an additional $20), which now bestows you with unencumbered access to all CA dispensaries and delivery services. Isn’t getting your medical marijuana card online fun?!
Step 6: Keep the Ganja flowing and Enjoy
That’s it. You are able to medicate yourself throughout California and potentially when travelling to other states that have medical marijuana laws on the books.
Online services like NuggMD and their network offer 24/7 support and help through every step of the process, from doctor consultation to purchasing of buds. The only thing these services can’t do is smoke your buds for you.
So what are you waiting for, grab $39 and 10 minutes of your free time and complete your 420 evaluations online to gain instant access to all that the California cannabis industry has to offer. Delectable cannabis flowers, edibles, tinctures, vape cartridges, rubs, ointments, and more are just around the corner!