As the use of medical cannabis expands, more and more doctors are willing to prescribe and more patients are needing a medical cannabis card so they can obtain what they need.
Which means that more and more people are trying to apply for one, getting confused and often being denied. Making a simple mistake can result in a massive delay getting your card, and more unnecessary pain and suffering.
So, what are the biggest mistakes people make when applying for a marijuana card?
Not Understanding State Laws
Most states at this point allow medical cannabis. Cannabis is still completely illegal in Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. It is fully legalized in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and the District of Columbia. This does not, however, mean you don’t need a medical cannabis card. For example, in Colorado, having a medical card allows you to pay a lower rate of tax than is charged on recreational cannabis.
Every single state has different laws for applying for a card, and your doctor may or may not have knowledge of what they are. You will need to do your own research and then make sure your doctor gives you any documentation you need to get your card. States also differ in what medical conditions are allowed to be treated with cannabis.
Not Knowing Where To Begin
Which brings us to not knowing where to even start. Many new patients have no idea how to register for and obtain their cards. The internet can be confusing on the matter.
The best place to begin is your own state’s medical cannabis commission or similar. For example, Maryland’s can be found here. Going straight to the source makes sure that you are not receiving information that has been filtered through multiple people and that you avoid people who have an agenda.
The commission’s site should lay out exactly what you have to do. If it doesn’t, or if the information is confusing or unclear, then you should contact the commission by phone, email, or website form and explain what you have an issue with. They should be able to help you.
Choosing the Wrong Doctor
If you have come to the conclusion on your own that you need to try medical cannabis for your health condition, you need to make sure that you go to the right doctor.
In many cases, your family doctor will not be qualified (and may not be willing) to prescribe marijuana, due to the fact that it is still technically illegal at the Federal level and that state-level cannabis laws are so recent. In many states, including Maryland, doctors have to specifically register to be allowed to prescribe it.
Your family doctor may give you a referral to a cannabis doctor, but if they are unwilling to do so you will have to look on your own. Make sure that the doctor you choose is certified by the state and ask to see their bona fides. They will need to see all of your medical records. Depending on the state, they may be obliged to require you to try further treatments before resorting to cannabis. In most states, they are required to have a “bona fide provider-patient relationship.” Do not let yourself be scammed by some kind of online doctor shop which claims to give you a prescription on request. A qualified doctor will need to examine you and study your medical records and will want to follow up with you. They will become part of your treatment team. They will also be able to help you with things such as recommending the right dispensary. Furthermore, they will also be able to tell you honestly if they don’t think cannabis can help you.
Gaming the system can get you into a lot of trouble.
Making a Mistake on Your Application
When you apply for your card or your child’s card, you need to follow all of the rules and you need to be careful not to make mistakes. If you are applying for a card for a child, you need to be their parent or legal guardian (but you don’t necessarily have to have your ex’s agreement if you have custody).
Common mistakes include typoing your own date of birth, not providing your physician’s information correctly (have their office look over the application to make sure it’s right), leaving off the date of the visit where you got your prescription, using the name you use commonly instead of the one on your driver’s license, etc. In most cases, a simple and honest mistake will get the application sent back to you for you to fix it, but this can delay you getting your card. Another thing which can delay your application is providing a photo that doesn’t meet requirements. In Maryland, you can send digital photos, so consider using a passport photo app on your phone.
Make sure that you follow all of the steps in the process for your state. For example, in Maryland, you need to register as a patient, then get a note from your doctor. You will get a temporary card to tide you over while the permanent one is being printed. Provide all the required documentation, and make sure none of it has expired.
Getting a medical cannabis card is a complex process by design, especially in states which have not legalized cannabis for recreational use. Make sure that you do it right to avoid delays in getting your card and the relief you are seeking.
Get Help from Your Cannabis Doctor or Euphoria Wellness
If in doubt, then don’t be afraid to seek help. Your cannabis doctor can give you advice and dispensary staff are also highly familiar with the process from their experience screening patients. Contact Euphoria Wellness Maryland to find out how we can help you out and also about our menu and products. We do require a card to enter the store but can help you out over the phone or through email.