Even as the words appear on this page, somewhere across the nation another state is preparing to put the use of medical cannabis to the vote. So far, eight states have legalized recreational marijuana use. 21 states have legalized medical cannabis. And 15 states have legalized limited medical marijuana use.
Today, a full 60 percent of voters nationwide support the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Every time a state passes a resolution, someone somewhere gains relief and new hope for managing their health. In this post, learn the three steps you need to take to become a registered medical cannabis patient.
1. Obtain your proof of residence.
According to the Medical Marijuana Association, the first piece of information you will need is your proof of residence.
If you have a current driver’s license, this will serve quite well. If you don’t have a driver’s license, a social security card, recent utility bill, income tax return, employer’s W2, firearms or hunting permit, military ID or government-issued ID card.
2. Obtain your proof of medical eligibility.
Since use of marijuana for any purpose is still not legal at the federal level, for now each state has the ability to set its own criteria for medical eligibility, according to Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida. This means that the only way to know for sure whether you are eligible is to check with your state’s laws.
Some medical conditions are considered eligible in most or all states where medical cannabis use is permitted with proper registration, while others may only be eligible in certain states.
You will most likely need to get copies of your medical records in order to prove that you have the medical condition under which you are applying. Any reputable physician willing to sign off on a medical cannabis physician’s consent form (see Step 3 here) will want to see medical records prior to doing so.
Here, if you find that your specific health condition is not considered eligible, it is still possible to successfully apply for a registration if you can find a symptom of your condition that is eligible.
Here is great example: let’s say you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is not currently eligible for medical marijuana registration in your state. However, upon scanning the list of eligible conditions, you notice that “chronic pain” is eligible. You are in constant chronic pain due to your Crohn’s disease.
So here, having your doctor note that the reason for your registration application is “chronic pain” rather than “Crohn’s disease” can help you get approved for a registration.
3. Obtain your doctor’s signature on the required forms.
As with all things government-related, there will always be forms to fill out and signatures to be gathered. In most states, this amounts to a registration form and a physician’s consent form.
The registration form will ask you to describe your intended use and, in states that permit limited plant growth, may ask you to describe your cultivation plans as well.
The physician’s consent form will detail the doctor’s recommendations for your use of cannabis for medical purposes.
You may need to pay a small processing fee along with your registration application.
If your only physician contact is your family physician and that professional does not support your desire to register for use of medical cannabis, this may require you to find a different doctor to sign the physician’s consent form.
An online search is the easiest way to locate a cannabis-friendly physician in your state. Many clinics now offer this service as a part of their patient care menu.
By taking these three steps and ensuring you have the right documentation in hand, it becomes much easier to prepare your registration paperwork, obtain the required physician consents as needed and get approved to become a registered medical cannabis patient.
Be aware that, once you have been issued your registration card, many dispensaries require presentation of this card every time you use your patient benefits. As well, you will need to check with your specific state to find out how frequently you will need to renew your registration to keep receiving your medical cannabis benefits.