California medical marijuana card

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California

Why get a Medical Marijuana Card in California?

Medical Marijuana Card For those of you lucky enough to live in California, you know it’s well-known for a variety of the most popular strains of marijuana. For residents of the sun and fun state, pot laws are some of the most lenient in the nation. Why would you need a medical marijuana card in California if it’s relatively easy to get your weed without it? There are a lot of reasons why having a medical marijuana card is a benefit for anyone that consumes cannabis.

California set a precedent when it became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Proposition 215, also known as the Medical Use Marijuana Initiative or the Compassionate Use Act, was approved on November 5, 1996, by a general election ballot. Again, in November 2016, Proposition 64 was passed. This took the legalization of marijuana a step further by allowing the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and over.

If the overall marijuana law in California is so lenient, why should you even think about getting a medical marijuana card? If you are a user, there are actually several excellent reasons to obtain a card.

Your first benefit is cost. You will pay less when purchasing weed with an ID card. Taxes on the products are lower, and they are exempt from state tax. The second reason is the marijuana you get at a cannabis shop is of a higher quality than in other places. Products at an unlicensed shop are not regulated. Their weed may contain dangerous additives. Lastly, as a cardholder, with a doctor’s approval, you are allowed to grow more plants than without a card. Three viable reasons to go through the approval process for a medical marijuana ID card.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California?

Do you know how to get a medical marijuana card in California? There are basically two ways, traditional and modern. The traditional way is to go to a qualified doctor’s office. With modern technology, you can now apply online.

Whichever way you choose, there are several rules about who can get a card. Not everyone can qualify. To obtain a card from the state of California, you must be a resident that is 18 or over. Individuals under 18 can apply but must have the written approval of a parent or guardian. You also need to have either a state of California driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

What are the Qualifying Conditions Required to get a Medical Marijuana Card?

Medical Marijuana Card ConditionBeing diagnosed with a qualifying condition is the next step towards an MMJ card. This step isn’t as monstrous as it may seem. There are a wide variety of illnesses and conditions that meet the standards. Physical diseases and disorders include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, muscle spasms, seizure disorders, and side effects of radiation therapy.

Several mental health issues are also considered qualifying conditions, including anxiety and depression. Qualifying conditions are also those that fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These are described as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

Methods to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

Traditional Method

To apply for a California medical marijuana card by the traditional method takes time. First, you have to find a doctor who is licensed to prescribe an MMJ card. Then you have to book an appointment that generally you probably have to wait weeks for. Once you get into the doctor’s office, you have forms to fill out, the physical exam, and the wait for the doctor to give you a letter of recommendation. This is the letter that gets you the MMJ card.

Modern Method

Here is how to get a medical marijuana card in California the better way. The modern method of applying online is easier and quicker. There are several portals you can apply through. When you register with a service, you will be connected with a licensed physician and given an evaluation online. When approved, you will receive a letter of recommendation by email and a hard copy by snail mail. Once you receive the letter by email, you can set up an ID code that will register you with the state’s medical marijuana program.

You may be able to use the letter of recommendation to purchase your marijuana products at the Los Angeles marijuana dispensary. With the letter, you will need to provide basic medical information, government ID or driver’s license, and proof of residency.


Costs for applying for a California medical marijuana card is relatively low, especially for Medi-Cal recipients. Medi-Cal is a program that offers free or low-cost health coverage for income-eligible children and adults in California. For non-Medi-Cal patients, the application for an MMJ ID is $66.00. The cost of the application for Medi-Cal recipients is $33.00. There is also an administration fee that varies per county.

Once you have your medical marijuana card, you can enjoy the benefits of high-quality, lower-cost cannabis products.

Written By

Ian Baker

Ian Baker does content and customer communications with Happy Leaf Collective through the website and blog. With 5 years of total experience working in cannabis niche, 3 were spent as a budtender in Arizona. 2 years ago, following his passion of writing and educating, Ian made the move into content and communications.