How to Get a Colorado Medical Marijuana Card
Consult an MMJ-Friendly Physician
The first step toward getting a Colorado MMJ card is to consult a healthcare professional and receive a recommendation.
Unfortunately, Colorado does not permit telemedicine for MMJ consultations. Therefore, you must see a healthcare professional face-to-face to receive your recommendation. However, several types of practitioners can recommend medical marijuana depending on the condition for which it is to be used.
To recommend MMJ for all debilitating and disabling conditions, the practitioner must be a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy. They must be in good standing and licensed to practice in Colorado, hold a valid, unrestricted DEA certification, and have an online account to submit their certifications.
Other practitioners, including dentists, physician assistants, advanced nurse practitioners, optometrists, and podiatrists, can recommend MMJ for disabling conditions only (see below). They must meet the same requirements as MDs and DOs as listed above.
Your practitioner will carry out a consultation to determine whether you will, in their opinion, benefit from medical marijuana. If they make a recommendation, this is submitted to the Medical Marijuana Registry with the patient’s application.
The recommendation might include maximum THC levels, recommended products, and directions for use. The physician can also specify if the patient requires more cannabis than the maximum statutorily allowed amount. However, the recommendation is not a prescription and cannot be filled at a pharmacy.
Minors and patients aged 18-20 must submit certifications from two providers with their application. In some cases, the recommendation must be made by a pediatrician, child and adolescent psychiatrist, or family physician. See the official Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry website for further details.
Register with the Colorado MMJ Program
The next step is creating an account and registering with the state program. Ensure that you have all the relevant documents available before applying. You will need the following:
- A valid Colorado state ID or driver’s license (in pdf or jpeg format)
- Your social security number
- A certified birth certificate (for minors)
- A certified court order proving custody (if applicable for minors)
- Your caregiver’s registration ID (if applicable)
- Your physician’s certification
- A form of payment (credit card or bank and routing number)
Once you have gathered your documents, choose a username and password that are easy to remember, and sign in. Fill in the application and double-check that all your information is correct before submitting your form.
Online applications are preferred, but you can apply by mail if necessary. Complete your application and send it via certified mail, along with a copy of your Colorado state ID or driver’s license and a check or money order for $29.50 made out to CDPHE. Your physician must submit their recommendation online and provide a printed copy for your records. Caregivers must also register online and provide a caregiver ID number for your application.
Mailed applications take approximately 6–8 weeks to process, so it is better to apply online whenever possible. For those submitting mailed applications, the postal address is:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Visit a Dispensary
Once you receive your card, you can visit a dispensary and buy your medicine. Online applicants can print off their cards as soon as they receive approval. Meanwhile, those applying by mail must wait several weeks to receive their physical card.
Patients must designate a “primary” dispensary, which maintains their physician’s certificate and uniform certification form if they are authorized to buy more than the statutory daily limit.
How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado
- A Step-by-Step Guide
- Consult a licensed Colorado medical professional
- Receive your MMJ certification
- Gather your documents, including state ID or driver’s license and social security number
- Create an online account and fill in the application
- Receive your Colorado medical card
- Visit a dispensary and buy your medicine
Colorado Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions
To apply for a medical marijuana card in CO, you must:
- Be aged 18+
- Be a Colorado resident
- Have a qualifying medical condition (see below)
- Minors are eligible if they and their primary parent are Colorado residents and they have a qualifying medical condition
Patient Qualifying Conditions
In CO, medical marijuana card qualifying conditions are divided into debilitating and disabling conditions. Only medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy can recommend MMJ for debilitating conditions. Meanwhile, various providers can make recommendations for patients with disabling conditions.
Debilitating medical conditions include:
- HIV or AIDS
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
Disabling medical conditions include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed
General Guidelines Medical Marijuana Card Renewal in Colorado
In Colorado, the validity of your MMJ card depends on your qualifying condition. For example, MMJ cards issued to those diagnosed with a debilitating condition are valid for one year. MMJ cards issued to those with disabling conditions will have the validity determined by the recommending healthcare provider. They can add time to this recommendation period later if necessary.
When it is time to renew, you must receive a new physician certification. Once you have it, log in to your account and update your details. We recommend allowing at least 30 days to complete the process.
There are different types of caregivers in Colorado. Cultivating caregivers can grow marijuana on a patient’s behalf. Transporting caregivers can deliver marijuana to homebound patients or minors. Advising caregivers can offer advice on using medical marijuana. Finally, the parents of a minor patient under 18 are classed as caregivers.
To become a caregiver, you must:
- Be aged 18+
- Be a Colorado resident
- Not be the patient’s healthcare provider
- Not be a licensed medical marijuana business
- Not have your own primary caregiver
Caregivers must register with the state program like patients. It is preferable to do this online, but it is also possible to apply by mail if necessary.
A Brief History of Cannabis in Colorado
In 2000, 54% of Colorado residents voted “yes” to Amendment 20, which legalized medical cannabis in the state. Following the program’s success, Colorado became the second state to legalize recreational weed, with Amendment 64 passing in December 2012. However, it took until 2014 to get recreational sales up and running.
While Colorado has a reputation as a marijuana-friendly state, recreational sales are not permitted everywhere. Each county sets its own rules, and many have opposed recreational weed. Even counties where it is permitted control when dispensaries can open, meaning purchasing cannabis in Colorado is not as straightforward as it seems.
Therefore, it is still well worth getting an MMJ card in Colorado. Registered patients also benefit from lower taxes and access to more potent products.
Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws and Rules
Colorado residents aged 21+ can legally possess up to two ounces and transfer up to two ounces to another adult for no remuneration.
Possessing larger amounts counts as a petty offense, but those caught a second time may face prison time. Possessing over six ounces is a misdemeanor, and possessing over 12 ounces is a felony. Possessing over three ounces of hash or concentrates is also a felony.
Selling any amount of cannabis without a license is a misdemeanor with a possible prison sentence of 6–18 months. Meanwhile, selling over four ounces is a felony with a possible prison sentence of 6–24 months.
Adults can legally cultivate up to six plants, but growing more than that is a felony.
What Types of Cannabis Products Can I Purchase in Colorado?
There are no restrictions on what type of cannabis is available in Colorado, and residents can choose from a broad range of products, including:
- Dry herb
- Vape products
FAQ About Getting an MMJ Card in CO
Applications are usually processed within 1–3 business days. Once approved, you can print off your card or display it on your phone when buying MMJ. Applications made by post may take as long as 6–8 weeks, and you receive a physical card.
If you are not approved, you can still buy cannabis in Colorado under the recreational program. However, several counties have banned recreational sales, so you’ll need to check your local laws. Unfortunately, those under 21 will have to wait until they come of age to buy recreational weed if they are not approved for MMJ.
The processing fee is $29.50, although those with a low household income (185% of the Federal Poverty Level or less) can apply for a fee waiver. You will also need to pay for your consultation with a physician. The good news is that Colorado physicians tend to charge less than many others. Therefore, the medical marijuana card cost in Colorado is relatively low. Contact us to find out whether you could save even more by applying with MMJ Card Online.
It is possible to buy up to two ounces of dry herb or eight grams of concentrates or edibles. However, purchasing larger amounts with an MMJ card is possible if your healthcare provider deems it necessary.
There are plenty of licensed dispensaries to choose from throughout Colorado. Estimates suggest that there are well over 1000 in the state. Therefore, there is stiff competition, and it is worth shopping around to get the best deals.
Cannabis is still a federally illegal substance and cannot be transported over state lines. Furthermore, Colorado does not recognize out-of-state medical cards. However, some other states may accept cards issued in Colorado, so it is worth checking before you travel.