On the first day of January, recreational marijuana became legal in California for all adults 21 and older. With this came a great demand for the state-issued medical marijuana identification card which has already been in existence for about a decade and a half. Apparently, cardholders of the said I.D. won’t be required to pay sales and use tax at dispensaries and these taxes can run between 7 to 10 percent in addition to the state’s sales tax.
At present, there seems to be a challenge getting this medical marijuana identification card. In Sonoma County, for example, you need to wait for three months before you get an appointment because they’re currently fully booked until May. While many of us are waiting, let’s get to know this ID a little bit more.
What exactly is it?
A medical marijuana identification card or MMIC is a laminated state ID that was created in 2004 by the California Department of Public Health. The use and issuance of this card was established so that the public and law enforcement can verify the validity of a qualified patient or caregiver’s to possess, grow, transport and/or use medical marijuana in California. The ID card program comes with a registry database for verification.
In a medical marijuana identification card, you will find a user identification number unique to the cardholder, the date of expiration, name and telephone number of the country program that approved the card application, photo of the cardholder, a “patient” or “primary caregiver” label to specify the cardholder, and the Internet address used to verify the validity of the ID.
A patient or caregiver is not required to get this card because participation to this ID card program is voluntary.
The medical marijuana I.D. expires within one year, in general. For primary caregivers who applied at a later date than the patient’s MMIC, the primary caregiver’s card will have the same expiration as the patient’s.
One can apply for renewal; the renewing process is the same as the application process. For lost, stolen or damaged IDs, the patient must reapply for a new card and pay for an application fee.
Given that the MMIC is a statewide identification card, it is valid in all participating California counties.
How to get?
Applicants, patients or primary caregivers, must be a resident of the county where he/she will participate in the medical marijuana program. Proof of residency has to be provided along with proof of identity (a government-issued Photo ID, in particular) and physician’s recommendation. This goes without saying that you need to be diagnosed with a qualifying condition or illness for which marijuana provides relief or treatment.The medical conditions that are said to benefit from medical marijuana include anxiety, arthritis, side effects of chemotherapy, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, and multiple sclerosis.
A digital photo will be taken so you must apply in-person.
A non-refundable application fee will be collected. Fees vary by county but it shouldn’t exceed one hundred dollars per card. At the County of Orange, application fee is at $84 for qualified patients and caregivers. Medi-Cal patients get 50% discount from the regular fee. Indigent patients eligible for County Medical Services won’t be required to pay the application fee.
Give your county health department 30 to 35 days to review and verify your application and print your identification card. Counties will either mail your card to your address or require you to personally pick it up at the local county office.
Where to get?
Apply for an MMIC at your local county public health department.Business hours and appointment requirements differ by county. Among the counties that won’t require you to set an appointment are Humboldt, Imperial, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Merced, Riverside, Del Norte, San Francisco, San Diego, San Mateo, San Benito, Santa Barbara, Solano, Yolo, Tehama.
Acceptance of applications are by appointment only in the following counties: Yuba, San Bernardino, Tulare, Sierra, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Sonoma,San Joaquin, Placer, Plumas, Stanislaus, Trinity, Glenn, Napa, Monterey, Nevada, Modoc, Fresno, El Dorado, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Amador, and Alpine.
Sutter and Colusa counties are not yet accepting applications.
Do I still need to get that ID now that recreational cannabis for adult use is legal in California?
Yes. Adult use cannabis has been legalized but it does not abolish the Medical Marijuana Identification Card program. In fact, Proposition 64 made some clarifications and improvements regarding this program.Privacy protection is extended because the patient information on the ID are considered medical information and thereby protected under Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
In addition, there are actually many advantages if you have a medical cannabis card even when marijuana for recreational use is already legal in California.
One, you enjoy the security of consuming and carrying medical marijuana freely (note, however, that the police can still arrest you if you are carrying more than what your doctor would allow – say 30 lbs).
Two, you can get at least 14% savings on your medical cannabis purchase given the sales and use tax exemption ensured by a valid MMIC. Excise tax and local taxes will still apply but exemption to state sales tax will still give you thousands of savings in the long run.
Three, you’ll have access to a larger list of dispensaries and be able to order online without any hassle.Most dispensaries across California only allow commercial medical sales.
Four, you’re sure to get high-quality flowers, edibles, concentrates and other cannabis products. Cannabis from medical dispensaries are grown from high-grade strains so with an MMIC, you’re more likely to get better cannabis that are truly potent to provide you with your needed relief.
Fifth, you’ll be allowed to smoke medical cannabis in areas where tobacco smoking is allowed if you are a card-carrying medical patient. Recreational use isn’t allowed in public areas.And lastly, a medical marijuana ID allows you to purchase and carry as much cannabis medication as required for your treatment/condition. Recreational users are limited to 8g of concentrates, 1oz of flower, or 10mg individual dose. Medical marijuana patients, on the other hand, can even get a grower’s license if you need more plants to alleviate your condition.
At present, medical cannabis patients in California do not really need the card to buy medical cannabis from a medical dispensary. A valid doctor’s recommendation is the ultimate requirement for a patient to purchase medical cannabis. However, a valid MMIC will give the patient some savings because the card is the ticket to avoid retail sales tax on medical marijuana.
Even if recreational marijuana has been legalized, it’s still best to register for a medical marijuana I.D.It remains to be the only legal, most secure, and advantageous way to avail of high-quality medical-grade marijuana in California. Get uninterrupted medicine supply from state-licensed dispensaries with your medical marijuana identification card.
So keep your state-issued Medical Marijuana ID active or get yourself one if you don’t have it yet. For your medical marijuana container needs, you can shop online at Dispensary Necessities. We’re ready to supply you with quality glass jars and containers, smell-proof bags, childproof containers and dropper bottles.
Keep visiting our blog for more information about medical cannabis and recreation cannabis use in California.