How Do I Get a Washington Medical Marijuana Card?
Find a Licensed Medical Professional in WA
Washington state is one of the few locations where you don’t need to apply directly to the Department of Health for a medical marijuana card. Instead, you rely on a medical professional to write you the certification. From there, you go to a medically licensed retail store and get your MMJ card.
In WA, you can earn a certification from a medical doctor or one of the following:
- Physician Assistant
- Osteopathic Physician
- Osteopathic Physician Assistant
- Naturopathic Physician
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Therefore, you should find it easy to locate a medical professional to certify you. Of course, nothing beats using our services when it comes to convenience!
Book a Consultation
Once you have found a medical professional, schedule a consultation. Please send your medical records in advance so the doctor can review them. The consultation shouldn’t last more than 15 minutes and will involve a full examination followed by questions about why you think MMJ will likely help you. If the medical professional is happy with your answers and decides to certify you, they will give you a signed Medical Marijuana Authorization Form.
In Washington state, you must visit a doctor in person for your initial consultation. However, if you prove that an in-person visit may cause hardship, the medical professional could indicate you’re eligible for compassionate care renewal. In this case, subsequent consultations can happen online.
Get Your Medicine!
The fact that you don’t have to complete an application with the Washington Department of Health (DOH) and wait for their response is a great time saver. Instead, you must schedule an appointment with a medically licensed retail store. Such outlets are legally obliged to have a certified MMJ consultant on duty. This individual needs to have finished a 20-hour training program.
The consultant will create your medical marijuana card, enter your information into a special database, and answer any questions you have about the state’s MMJ laws. Furthermore, they can help you find the best products for your needs and show you how to use and store them safely.
Bring the signed authorization form and a photo ID that proves you’re a Washington state resident to the appointment. Once you receive your laminated MMJ card, you can buy medical marijuana.
How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington
- A Step-by-Step Guide
- Make sure you have a photo ID proving that you’re a resident of Washington state
- Check the MMJ program’s list of qualifying conditions to ensure you’re eligible
- Find a medical professional licensed to provide MMJ certifications in WA
- Schedule a consultation and send your medical records to the doctor’s office
- Discuss your medical condition with the doctor and highlight why you believe MMJ can help you
- After receiving a Medical Marijuana Authorization Form, visit a medically licensed retail store to receive your MMJ card
- With the card in your possession, visit one of Washington’s many marijuana dispensaries
Washington Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions
You can’t become a medical marijuana cardholder in Washington unless you meet the following criteria:
- Be aged 18+
- Have one of the qualifying conditions (which we outline in the next section)
- Show proof that you’re a resident of Washington state
Patient Qualifying Conditions
The Washington MMJ program has fewer qualifying medical conditions than many other states. You must have one of the following to be deemed eligible for an MMJ card:
- Cachexia/wasting syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable pain
- Seizure or spasticity disorders
- Crohn’s disease (if the patient suffers from debilitating symptoms)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Chronic renal failure with hemodialysis symptoms
Hopefully, the information above clarifies your actions to earn an MMJ card in Washington state. The following delves a little deeper into the program.
Medical Marijuana Card Renewal in Washington
In Washington state, your MMJ card is valid for 12 months. The renewal process is virtually the same as when you initially got your card. Schedule a consultation with a medical professional, receive your renewed certification, and book an appointment with a medically endorsed retail store.
In WA, medical marijuana patients can assign a state resident aged 21+ as their designated provider. This individual can buy, possess and grow marijuana on behalf of the MMJ patient. State law dictates that a caregiver can only serve one patient.
A Brief History of Cannabis in Washington
Washington’s MMJ program is one of the oldest in the country. When voters approved I-692 in 1998, they legalized medical marijuana in the state. It ended over 70 years of prohibition after WA passed House Bill 3 in 1923, which punished the possession of the substance with a 10-year prison sentence!
After over a decade with legal MMJ, Washington became the first American state to begin recreational marijuana sales. Voters said “yes” to I-502 in December 2012, allowing adults aged 21+ to buy up to an ounce of marijuana. However, while you’re free to buy cannabis in WA as an adult, MMJ cardholders enjoy bigger possession and purchasing limits, and lower taxes.
Washington Medical Marijuana Laws and Rules
Due to I-502, you can buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana if aged 21+. However, possessing over an ounce is a misdemeanor, while carrying over 40 grams is a felony with a possible prison term of five years. You could receive the same punishment for the illegal sale of any amount of the substance.
Furthermore, the illegal cultivation of marijuana is also a felony with a potential five-year jail term. Therefore, although WA is more liberal than most states regarding marijuana usage, it still has heavy punishments if you break the law. If you want to buy more than an ounce or grow the plant, a medical marijuana card is a must.
What Types of Cannabis Products Can I Purchase in WA?
Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Washington state, there are no noteworthy restrictions on the type of products you can buy. Therefore, the following items should be available at most dispensaries:
- Marijuana flower
- Vape oil
- Oils and tinctures
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
Once you have a Washington MMJ card, you benefit from some of the most generous purchasing and possession limits in America:
- Three ounces of usable marijuana
- 21 grams of concentrate
- 48 ounces of cannabis-infused products in solid form
- 216 fl. oz of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
Please note that the above refers to the TOTAL amount of marijuana you’re allowed to purchase. For instance, if you buy 21 grams of concentrate, you cannot purchase anything else.
Where Can I LEGALLY Purchase MMJ in Washington?
“Pretty much anywhere” is the short answer! There are over 1,000 dispensaries in the state, so if you live near an urban area, there’s a chance you’ll find one within walking distance. Like other states that allow adult-use cannabis, WA’s dispensaries are divided into medical and recreational, although MMJ cardholders should be able to use both.
Once you have your medicine, remember that you can only use it in a private residence. Public consumption is illegal and will result in a $100 fine if you’re caught.
Can I Take My MMJ to a Different State?
No. It is illegal to bring marijuana across state lines. Also, Washington doesn’t have reciprocity agreements with any state. Therefore, your MMJ card is only valid in WA, and out-of-state patients can’t use their cards. On the plus side, you can buy up to an ounce of marijuana in Washington if you’re aged 21+.
Can I Cultivate Marijuana in Washington with my MMJ Card?
Yes. One of the biggest advantages of being an MMJ cardholder in WA is the ability to grow marijuana. You can cultivate up to six plants and hold a maximum of eight ounces of usable cannabis from them. If you get special permission from a medical professional, you can grow up to 15 plants and possess up to 16 ounces of marijuana from them.
However, you can only do the above if registered in the database. If not, the growing limit falls to four plants; you can only hold up to six ounces of marijuana from them.
If you can find other MMJ patients, you could create a cooperative of up to four people. Cooperatives can cultivate a combined maximum of 60 plants, 15 per individual. To form a cooperative, you must be aged 21+, and the plants must be grown at a member’s house. There are other rules to consider, and it is worth discovering more on the Department of Health’s website.
FAQ About Obtaining a MMJ Card in Washington
The patient's MMJ card becomes invalid after one year, so they must renew it before it expires. To do so, they must schedule an appointment with a doctor, pay a renewal fee, and submit any accompanying documents to the department within a 45-day window of the card's expiry date.
The process, including scheduling doctor's appointments, being approved and registered, and receiving your MMJ card, generally takes five business days plus another five days for the MMJ card to be printed and posted to you.
MMJ Card Online has a very high approval rate. However, if you are not approved, you will receive a full refund.
The cost of obtaining a MMJ card in Washington includes no application fee, although you may need to pay between $1 and $5 to get registered in the database. The initial payment for the appointment with a qualified physician is between $50 and $150.