How Do I Get an Alabama Medical Marijuana Card?
Find a Physician That Does MMJ Consultations
Although medical marijuana in Alabama is now legal, finding a doctor that is willing to provide a written recommendation may prove challenging. However, once it becomes possible to apply online for medical marijuana in Alabama, the MMJ Card Online team will do everything possible to help you find a willing licensed physician ready to provide certification.
(Please note that the Alabama MMJ program clearly states you need an ongoing doctor-patient relationship with the provider you use. Also, in order to qualify for medical cannabis, you must have one of the qualifying conditions and show that standard treatments have not helped alleviate your symptoms).
Schedule a Consultation
Any Alabama doctor willing to certify MMJ patients will need to register with the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC), as well as the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Furthermore, physicians must have practiced in Alabama for at least three years. Doctors also must finish periodic training, must continue to provide care for the patients they certify.
During the consultation, the doctor will ask you about your medical condition and try to ascertain whether MMJ will prove useful in your case. They will also conduct a physical examination. After about 15 minutes, you’ll know whether the doctor has provided approval. If they do, they’ll recommend a treatment plan and give you the written recommendation required to proceed with the application process.
Complete Your Application
The next step involves registering with the state’s MMJ program. The doctor’s office that completes your consultation will likely be able to complete this step for you. According to Alabama’s state program, you must complete the application within 60 days of receiving the doctor’s certification.
The AMCC has not outlined whether MMJ patients will use physical or digital cards. You will only be allowed to buy MMJ from a licensed dispensary once you have the card in your possession.
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How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Alabama
- A Step-by-Step Guide
*Please note that at the time of writing, you must wait until the second half of 2023 to apply.
- Check to see if you have one of the state’s qualifying medical conditions
- Find a marijuana-friendly licensed physician in Alabama
- Ensure you have an existing doctor-patient relationship with this medical professional
- Book a consultation and discuss your proposed usage of MMJ
- If approved, use the doctor’s written certification to complete the state’s medical marijuana program application
- Once you receive your MMJ card, visit a licensed dispensary to pick up your medicine
Alabama Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions
When it becomes possible to get a medical marijuana card in Alabama, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be an Alabama state resident
- Have one of the qualifying medical conditions
- Be at least 19 years of age
Patient Qualifying Conditions
The qualifying conditions for an Alabama medical marijuana card consist of the following at present. Please note that this may change once the program gets underway.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Terminal illness
- Panic disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Epilepsy or any other condition with seizures as a symptom
- Spasticity associated with MS, ALS, or spinal cord injury
- Sickle cell anemia
- Cachexia, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, or chronic pain related to cancer
- Weight loss or nausea related to HIV/AIDS
- Persistent nausea unrelated to pregnancy that conventional treatments haven’t helped
- Any condition with chronic or intractable pain as a symptom where conventional therapies and treatments have proven ineffective
No one is currently sure about the entire picture regarding the MMJ application process in AL. However, all of the information contained in this guide is regularly updated. Please return closer to the date when applications begin to see if there have been any major changes. Below is the additional information surrounding the state’s medical marijuana program that we’re aware of.
Medical Marijuana Card Renewal in Alabama
According to the AMCC, each patient will be notified 45 days before the medical marijuana card expires. An Alabama MMJ card will likely be valid for 12 months from the issue date. The renewal process will involve recertification by a licensed physician and completing a fresh application. The AMCC has warned prospective applicants to send fees and all relevant documentation at least 14 days before their cards expire.
You can become a caregiver if you’re an Alabama resident aged 21+. The process involves applying for a registry card, and once you’re approved, you can purchase and transport medical marijuana on behalf of the qualifying patient. As a caregiver, you can help multiple MMJ patients but must pay additional fees for every registry card. Ultimately, the state’s MMJ program will likely limit the number of patients one caregiver can assist.
A Brief History of Cannabis in Alabama
Alabama was renowned as one of the most anti-marijuana locations in the United States. Once the plant was banned in AL in 1931, there was no chance for any of the few attempts to legalize the substance to succeed. Such was the state’s opposition to marijuana that a bill to decrease the strict penalties for possessing, selling, or using the substance failed in 2019.
However, in a stunning development, Governor Kay Ivey signed SB 46 into law in May 2021, legalizing medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the AMCC took over a year to approve the final rules. Furthermore, medical marijuana businesses won’t receive licensing until June 2023 at the earliest. Therefore, it is unlikely that MMJ patients will be permitted to submit their applications until near the end of 2023.
Alabama Medical Marijuana Laws and Rules
Remember that the state hasn’t even begun the MMJ card application process, let alone the legal sale of marijuana! Furthermore, Alabama is one of the decreasing numbers of states that haven’t decriminalized the substance. Therefore, you will face harsh punishments if found illegally buying, using, or selling marijuana.
Possessing any marijuana is a misdemeanor with a potential one-year prison sentence as the punishment. If you have a previous conviction for non-personal use, the charge is upgraded to a felony with one year and one day as the mandatory minimum prison term. Non-personal use of marijuana carries the same penalty.
The sale of any amount is a felony and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, rising to 20 years! The sale of any amount by someone aged 18+ to a minor is one of the most serious offenses. It carries a minimum jail term of 10 years, rising to 99 years. For reference, a Capital Murder offense also has a 10-year to life prison term as the punishment, albeit with the possibility of the death penalty!
The cultivation of any amount of marijuana is a felony with a 2–20-year prison term as the penalty.
What Types of Cannabis Products Can I Purchase in AL?
It is important to note that major restrictions exist on what MMJ patients can buy. It will remain illegal to smoke or vape marijuana, and edibles such as cookies will also be prohibited. The following are the different types of products available to MMJ cardholders:
- Oils or liquids for use in an inhaler
- Transdermal patches
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
MMJ cardholders are allowed to possess up to 70 daily doses of marijuana. They can buy a maximum of a 60-day supply at one time with limitations depending on what their doctor recommends or when they last bought MMJ.
A daily dose is classified as 50mg of THC. The doctor is allowed to increase the limit to 75mg after three months. Terminally ill patients are not subject to THC limits, however.
We must point out that in Alabama, your employer will still be allowed to fire you if you test positive for marijuana in a drug screening. It will also remain illegal to use marijuana in a public place.
Where Can I LEGALLY Purchase MMJ in Alabama?
Once the AMCC has granted the requisite licenses, there will be up to 12 dispensaries in Alabama.
Can I Take My MMJ to a Different State?
No. It is illegal to bring marijuana from one state to the next. Also, out-of-state MMJ cards will not be valid in Alabama. However, an AL medical marijuana card may be accepted in certain states.
Can I Grow Marijuana in AL with a Medical Marijuana Card?
No. MMJ cardholders are not allowed to cultivate plants at home and face severe penalties if caught doing so.
FAQ About Getting an MMJ Card in Alabama
Unfortunately, we can’t answer this question at present. We won’t find out until the AMCC begins the MMJ application process.
There is currently no information on the re-application process for patients that are initially denied approval.
The AMCC has not yet determined how much the application fee will be, although $65 is the maximum. Your physician’s consultation, however, will likely cost from $150 to $300. However, you can save money by applying through MMJCardOnline once telemedicine services are available in the state.
Yes, as long as a parent or guardian acts as a caregiver. Please note that as far as the Alabama MMJ program is concerned, a minor is 18, not 17, as in most other states. Also, state law dictates that minors can only use products containing a maximum of 3% THC.