How to Get a California Medical Marijuana Card

The California Department of Public Health oversees the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program. Unlike other states, applications are handled by the individual county where the patient lives. You must find your local County Health Department office location in order to submit your application.

Who can qualify?

To be selected for a  Medical Marijuana card you must be a resident of California and have a valid government-issued ID. You must also be 18 years of age or older, or have a parent or guardian apply as a Primary Caregiver. And finally you must be diagnosed by a licensed physician with one of these conditions:

  • AIDS
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraines
  • Chronic muscle spasms, like those from multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Any chronic symptom that significantly limits the patient from conducting one or more major life activities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • A chronic symptom that may cause serious harm to the patient’s safety or physical or mental health

How much does it cost?

Cost varies by county and can be reduced if you are a participant in MediCal or the County Medical Services Program

How do I apply?

Apply for a Medical Marijuana card with the following steps:

  1. Complete an Application form (CDPH 9042)
  2. Provide a valid government-issued ID. Primary Caregivers must also provide identification
  3. Submit proof of residency in the county which you are applying. This could be proof of rent or owning property, a recent utility bill, or a California motor vehicle registration that has your name and address
  4. A written document from your physician recommending the use of Medical Marijuana in order to treat a qualifying medical condition. Your physician can use the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records form (CDPH 9044)
  5. Make sure your medical provider has been given authorization to release medical information, otherwise the application may be denied based on being unable to verify your medical documentation
  6. Pay the application fee. The cost depends on the county in which you are applying. MediCal participants will receive a 50 percent discount. County Medical Services Program participants will have their fee waived.

Make sure you follow all instructions and provide the documentation required. A denied application may prevent you from applying again for 6 months.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel

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