In the United States, Medical marijuana has created a world of controversy like never before. Voters, politicians, and medical professionals have made their stand for or against allowing medical marijuana to be legalized in their respective states. The history of marijuana in the USA is very interesting and is worth watching about.
Yet, because of the undeniable health benefits of medical marijuana, the various states see no alternative but to allow their use and sale. The billion-dollar income derived from the marijuana business is another hard-to-resist enticement few states can do without.
Since last year, 28 states including the District of Columbia have legalized the sale and use of medical marijuana. With the approval, the issuance of medical marijuana cards is the next step. This is to ensure only people with serious medical conditions take advantage of the health benefits medical marijuana has proven to alleviate.
Where in the United States is medical marijuana legal?
Below is a list of the 28 participating states, including Washington D.C. that has allowed the use and sale of medical marijuana:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
There are certain qualifications to meet before a patient can avail of a medical marijuana card. Qualifying means meeting the medical conditions listed, outlined, and approved by the Department of Health Services of each state. Growing, using, possessing, harvesting, distributing, and selling are governed by various state laws that have to be strictly followed to avoid committing a criminal act.
What does approval of medical marijuana mean?
It must be remembered that federal law still considers using marijuana an illegal act. It does not matter whether marijuana is being used for medical or recreational reasons. Marijuana may have been legalized and given the go signal by the various state legislature system, but still frowned upon by the federal lawmakers.
However, the high demand for medical marijuana has made the approval of their use and sale legal in participating states. Patients with debilitating health conditions that seek relief from medical marijuana need a medical marijuana card processed, evaluated, and approved by a doctor licensed to prescribe cannabis.
Patients can only legally use, possess, and purchase medical cannabis once approved. Depending on their state laws, these same approved patients can even grow their own marijuana plants.
Why is it necessary to have a medical marijuana card?
Legal issues and common sense dictate the necessity of a medical marijuana card. It’s not all about receiving and using cannabis even if their health demands it. Not having a medical marijuana card in your possession means using the drug illegally every time you light up. Getting caught using or possessing marijuana is still a crime, subject to state civil and criminal penalties.
Using marijuana can only become legal when you have a medical marijuana card. It is the only access patients have to legally purchase and use cannabis. State-approved medical marijuana shops, dispensaries, and clinics will only sell to people possessing medical marijuana cards. No card, no sale.
How long is the validity period of the medical marijuana card?
The validity of medical marijuana cards is usually for a year. The card is renewable after a year as long as the patient has need of medical marijuana. The same process underwent the first time has to be done all over again.
Renewing the card gives a new card number which can only be approved and released as soon as the patient information has been confirmed and verified. The doctor licensed to prescribe cannabis also needs to renew after a year or as soon as the license expires.
What are the benefits of a medical marijuana card?
The medical marijuana card serves as your protection from legal prosecution. Anyone caught possessing and using cannabis without holding a medical marijuana card is subject to criminal or civil prosecution. The card is also your “entry ticket” to all clinics, dispensaries, and shops selling medical marijuana products. Patients needing medical marijuana need the card to provide safe passage wherever he or she goes.
Certain states allow patients to grow, cultivate, and use cannabis plants. However, patients are only allowed this privilege if they are medical marijuana cardholders. The card is another way of saying that the holder is a law-abiding citizen who carefully and diligently follows the rules of their respective state in their use of medical marijuana.
How can you get a medical marijuana card?
It can seem like a dream come true for patients receiving their marijuana medical card for the first time. The card seems to epitomize a “golden ticket” to health where other drugs and alternative treatments have failed.
Yet, getting one often frustrates and confuses people. Here are some helpful steps towards possessing your very own medical marijuana card:
- Your health condition should be on the list mapped out by the Department of Health. If you have a serious medical condition such as glaucoma, AIDS, epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, you are eligible to be issued a medical marijuana card
- Some serious health ailments such as PTSD, hepatitis C, muscular dystrophy, and many others may be listed in other states as eligible reasons for a medical marijuana card. Check your state laws to find out about the qualifying conditions.
- Proof of residence is an important document which can be through a driver’s license. There are other forms of documentation to easily support your proof of residence.
- You need a doctor’s signature on your medical marijuana form. This can be a bit harder as doctors are still unsold on the health benefits provided by medical marijuana. It may be because they are morally against it. It may be because there’s no clear scientific evidence to back the health claims of medical marijuana. It may also be because they feel they are not in the position to prescribe medical marijuana.
Successfully possessing a medical marijuana card could feel like winning the jackpot. Relief from pain is finally on its way provided by the medical marijuana card. Legal entry is now granted to you to purchase and use medical cannabis from dispensaries, shops, and clinics. The medical marijuana card is the light at the end of the dark tunnel of pain, anxiety, and stress traditional medications have, time and time again, failed to alleviate.