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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

Interested in getting a medical marijuana card or just want to know what it’s all about? We’ve got your back.

A medical marijuana card is a state-issued card that allows qualified patients access to cannabis for medical use. Patients need a doctor’s recommendation to purchase, possess, or grow cannabis for medical purposes. The state-issued card allows patients access to the plant, despite not having FDA testing for efficacy and safety.

For many, safe and legal access to cannabis is life-changing. So if you’re wondering how to get your hands on a medical marijuana card in Washington or Alaska, read on.

Washington Alaska

How to get a medical marijuana card in Washington

Check your eligibility

The first step to getting a medical marijuana card in Washington is checking if you have a qualifying condition. You cannot just get a medical marijuana card because you want one.  The state allows people with terminal or debilitating conditions to have access to medical cannabis. To be considered terminal or debilitating, the condition must affect daily living and the ability to function.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders 
  • Spasticity disorders
  • Intractable pain (unrelieved by standard treatments and medication)
  • Glaucoma
  • Crohn’s disease if debilitating symptoms are not relieved by standard treatments
  • Hepatitis C with nausea or pain relieved by standard medicines or treatments
  • Anorexia or other illnesses that lead to nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramps, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity
  • Chronic renal failure that requires hemodialysis
  • PTSD 
  • Traumatic brain injury

MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS DO NOT QUALIFY   for access to medical marijuana. According to the Washington State Department of Health, there is a lack of evidence to support the role of cannabis in managing mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.

If you have a qualifying condition, you can move on to the next step: applying for a card.

See a physician

Before you can obtain a card, you will need to be evaluated by a medical professional. According to Weedmaps, this can be:

  • Medical doctor (MD)
  • Physician assistant (PA)
  • Osteopathic physician (DO)
  • Osteopathic physician assistant (DOA)
  • Naturopathic physician
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP)

Keep in mind that there are online programs, such as Veriheal, where you can speak with a licensed Washington state medical marijuana doctor to get a recommendation.  This option is especially convenient as we navigate COVID-19.

If you are younger than 18, you must have a parent or guardian participate in the treatment and also consent to your medical use of marijuana. Additionally, the parent or guardian must act as a designated provider for the minor and have sole control over their medicine. Both the parent or guardian and the minor must enter the state’s medical marijuana database in this situation.

Once you’ve received a recommendation from a qualified medical professional, you will be given documentation for your authorization. Be sure to keep it safe.

Visit a medically-endorsed dispensary

Once you’ve received documentation for your recommendation, you can set up an appointment with a medically-endorsed retail store. Luckily for patients, POM Cannabis has trained and certified medical marijuana consultants at select locations!

Certified medical marijuana consultants are not medical providers. They can help with entering patient and provider information into the database, creating the card, helping select the right products, and answering questions about products and laws.

When you go to your appointment, you will need to bring proof of identity and your authorization form. From there, you will have the option to be added to the database. If you are under 18, this is not optional. Then, the store will print off and laminate a card for you before handing it over.

Once staff has created a card for you, it’s time to start purchasing medical marijuana!

Note:  You are not required to enter the database if you are over the age of 18. However, if you do, you will receive many benefits. You can purchase products from medically-endorsed stores, both sales and use tax-free, purchase up to three times the current legal limits, purchase high-THC products, and even grow a small number of your own plants. Additionally, you can get arrest protection.

It costs a minimum of $1 to process a medical marijuana card, though stores can charge as much as they see fit.

How to get a medical marijuana card in Alaska

Check your eligibility

The process of getting a medical marijuana card in Alaska is similar to Washington’s, with some changes.

First, the list of qualifying conditions is a little bit shorter. Here are the conditions that qualify:

  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain 
  • Glaucoma 
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

See a physician

Be sure to bring medical records and have all of your questions and concerns ready to go. If your doctor believes you would benefit from medical cannabis, they will give you a signed statement.

You must be seen by a doctor that has personally examined you within the last 16 months.

Apply for a card

Once you have a signed statement from your doctor, you will need to fill out an application form. Fill it out entirely, along with the application fee, and then mail it to the address listed on the application form.

Now you just have to wait up to five weeks for the application to process. If approved, you’ll get your card in the mail. If you are not approved, you will not be allowed to apply again for at least six months.

Expect to pay $25 for the application fee, along with a $20 yearly renewal fee.

Once you’ve obtained your medical marijuana card, you can enjoy the legal protection it offers. Additionally, you can access the facilities that only allow entry to patients. You can also grow your own plants!

 

Final thoughts

Washington runs its medical marijuana program a little differently than most of the other states that offer it. Rather than apply for a medical card after seeing a doctor, you just need to visit a medically-endorsed dispensary with your doctor’s recommendation to get set up.

In Alaska, the setup is similar to other states. Visit a doctor you’ve seen recently, get a recommendation, fill out an application, and wait for the card to arrive if approved.

If you’re interested in getting your medical marijuana card, we encourage you to look into it further. Those with qualifying conditions may reap the benefits of the card, including some legal protection, reduced taxes, and even the opportunity to grow their own plants.

POM Cannabis has certified medical marijuana consultants on staff at select locations. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the program!