How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California

Even though marijuana is now legal for recreational use in the Golden State, getting a medical marijuana card in California is still worthwhile. Bear in mind recreational cannabis is only available to adults aged 21 and over. So if you are aged 18-20 and have a medical condition, you can legally use medical marijuana with a California MMJ card. California also has laws that allow minors to obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes with the consent of their parent or legal guardian. Furthermore, cannabis is less expensive if you have a California MMJ card because it is subject to lower tax rates, although local and excise taxes may still be imposed. However, if you hold a state-issued medicinal marijuana ID card, you are exempt from state sales tax. With a California MMJ card, you are entitled to far more than one ounce of marijuana and can cultivate more than six plants. If you are a California resident and have a qualifying condition (see Patient Qualifying Conditions listed below), follow these steps to get a medical marijuana card in California.

Schedule A Doctor's Consultation

The first step to getting a California medical marijuana card is to schedule a consultation with a state-licensed physician. MMJCardOnline can put you in touch with a physician quickly so you can get certified for medical marijuana use in California.


Download and Fill Out the Patient Application Form

Next, visit the Golden State’s official Department of Health website, where you can access the patient application form. Download, print, and complete the application form in full. You can use the same form to apply as a new patient or to renew your California MMJ card.


Organize Your Supporting Documentation

You will need the following supporting documents when applying for a California MMJ card:

  • A copy of your medical recommendation
  • Proof of identity, e.g., a government-issued ID card or a California driver’s license
  • Proof of residency in California, such as a utility bill showing your name and address

Make and Attend an Appointment with your County Health Dept.

As you have to submit your paper application for a California MMJ card in person, you must make an appointment with your local county health department.

You pay an application fee at your appointment and get your photograph taken for your ID card. The application price varies by county, but it is never over $100. If applying as a primary caregiver, the patient must accompany you to your appointment.

The application fee is 50% lower if you receive healthcare through Medi-Cal and is waived if you are in receipt of healthcare through a medically-indigent service program.


Receive Your California MMJ Card

If your application is approved, you should receive your California medical marijuana card from your local county health department within 35 days.

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How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in California
- A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Check your eligibility
  • Schedule an appointment with a California physician
  • Get certified as a qualifying patient by the physician
  • Visit the California Dept. of Health website, download, print, and complete the application form
  • Organize your supporting documents
  • Make and attend an appointment with your local county health department
  • Be approved
  • Receive your MMJ card in the mail

California Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

To be eligible for a California MMJ card, you must have been diagnosed by a doctor with one (or more) of these qualifying medical conditions:

Patient Qualifying Conditions

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Side effects of radiation therapy
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine headaches
  • Severe nausea
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Anorexia
  • A persistent or chronic medical symptom causing serious harm to the patient’s mental or physical health if not treated

General Guidelines

Next, we will outline how to renew your California medical marijuana card and provide you with important information regarding caregiver rules.

Medical Marijuana Card Renewal in California

California MMJ cards are valid for one year; therefore, you must renew it before it expires. Fortunately, completing the process online is extremely simple. It involves pretty much the same steps as getting your card for the first time. Again, schedule an online consultation with a licensed physician to expedite the evaluation process. Remember, MMJCardOnline can help you with this.

Some companies will let you renew your MMJ card for as little as $39. Once you have the physician’s certification, you can resubmit the Medical Marijuana Program Renewal/Application Form to the California Department of Public Health.

Please keep in mind that renewal can take up to 30 days, so start the process at least one month before your MMJ card expires. However, with MMJCardOnline and its partners, you could receive your card within 3-5 business days when you apply online.

Caregiver Rules

You can assign a caregiver to assist you with your MMJ needs, but they must be over the age of 18. However, there are exceptions, such as they are an emancipated minor or they are the parent of a qualified patient who is a minor.

Caregivers who care for more than one patient must live in the same Californian county as you. They can possess up to eight ounces and are subject to the same growing regulations as qualified patients.

Primary caregivers have to apply in person with the patient and present valid identification.

Finally, according to the Department of Cannabis Control’s website, you can appoint a primary caregiver who is the owner or operator of one of these California-licensed facilities:

  • A hospice
  • A clinic
  • Home health agency

History of Cannabis in California

California was the first state in the modern era to legalize medical marijuana. The Golden State eventually authorized MMJ via Proposition 215 in 1996 after a lengthy battle by cannabis activists that saw numerous setbacks. However, the program did not establish an ID card system for medical marijuana patients until Senate Bill 420 was passed in 2003.

Despite being the first American state to legalize medical marijuana, California remained firm on recreational marijuana for the next two decades. Finally, in 2016, Proposition 64 became law, allowing adults over the age of 21 to buy and possess up to 1oz of marijuana, with sales starting on January 1, 2018.

California Medical Marijuana Laws and Rules

Just because California has legalized adult-use marijuana, it doesn’t mean that the state is a free-for-all with no consequences. It’s legal to possess up to one ounce of cannabis without an MMJ card if you are 21 or older; however, carrying 28.5 grams or more is a misdemeanor punishable by a six-month jail sentence. The penalty is the same whether you have more than 8g of concentrate, grow more than six plants, or sell any amount of marijuana without the necessary licensing.

If you’re over 18 and sell marijuana to someone under the age of 17, you’ve committed a felony. If you wish to buy and possess additional cannabis and have one of the qualifying medical conditions for medicinal cannabis, you should seriously consider getting a California MMJ card.

What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in California?

You have numerous options when you have a California MMJ card. Californian dispensaries provide marijuana flower, concentrates, edibles, lotions, patches, tinctures, and other cannabis products.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy and Possess?

Reportedly, California MMJ cardholders may possess and transport up to eight ounces of dried marijuana. However, always check what your county laws permit.

Where can I Legally Purchase MMJ in California?

California has nearly 900 legal dispensaries, but there are around 3,000 unregistered dispensaries in the state! As a result, please make certain that the dispensary you use is completely licensed by the state.

Can I Take my MMJ to a Different State?

Marijuana is federally illegal, so it is not lawful to cross state lines with it in your possession.

FAQ About Getting an MMJ Card in California

How long does it take to get a Medical Marijuana Card in California?

Using the standard paper application, it may take up to 35 days to receive your California MMJ card. However, with the help of MMJCardOnline and our partners, you could get approved in minutes, meaning you get your California MMJ card in the mail within a few business days.

What if I'm not approved after my initial consultation with a California MMJ physician?

MMJCardOnline users have an extremely high approval rate. To increase your chances of success, please read the information in this guide before applying. In the unlikely event, you're not approved, you will receive a full refund.

How much is it for a Medical Card in California?

If you apply the traditional way, i.e., via a paper application, you will have to pay a $100 application fee and a physician's fee, which varies greatly. Therefore, getting your recommendation online is much more beneficial to your bank account because you can drastically reduce the medical marijuana card fee. The majority of service providers charge less than $50 for their services. Medi-Cal recipients receive a 50% discount; the maximum application fee is $50. If you are in receipt of healthcare through a medically-indigent service program, you do not have to pay an application fee.