Ask ten different people why they use cannabis, and you’re likely to get ten different answers. Used around the world, cannabis can be used recreationally, therapeutically, medicinally, and culturally as a part of religious ceremonies. Because the cannabis plant offers so many benefits – from pain and stress relief to sleep management – it’s often used as an herbal remedy by people experiencing chronic pain and other medical issues.
Although cannabis is legal for medicinal use in Maryland, there’s still a process beyond just acquiring a prescription that you’ll need to go through. It’s important to recognize that only people with real medical issues and a doctor’s permission should attempt to purchase medicinal cannabis in Maryland. For everyone else who might be interested in recreational cannabis use, the Maryland General Assembly recently created a task force to explore full recreational cannabis legalization for adults. But as of August 2020, cannabis is approved only for medicinal use in the state.
What’s the Process for Legally Obtaining Medical Cannabis in Maryland?
The first step for adults seeking to obtain legal medical cannabis in Maryland is to register as a patient with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). If you’re an adult, you can prepare for registration by reviewing the process overview for registering as a patient. To register, you’ll need:
- a valid and accessible email account
- the last four digits of your Social Security Number
- an electronic copy of a valid government-issued photo ID
- proof of Maryland residency
Accepted forms of ID include a driver’s license, state-issued photo ID card, military ID card, or US Passport. If you use photo ID other than a driver’s license or state ID card, you’ll also need to provide proof of residency. Proof of Maryland residency can include, but is not limited to:
- Maryland Vehicle Administration registration card or title
- a utility or cable/satellite TV bill
- bank account statement
- property tax bill
- mortgage statement or proof of home ownership
- major credit card bill
Please note that any document provided must be dated within the past 90 days.
You’ll also need a copy of a clear and recent photograph. The photo should resemble a driver’s license or ID photo, straight on of an unobscured face, against a white background. The file format of the image should be a JPEG. If you’re in hospice care, you may submit a letter from the attending physician in lieu of a recent photo. Once you have all of the above materials together, you can begin the next step.
The second step is to complete and submit an online application on the MMCC Registry website. You can find the link to create an account under patients, or by clicking here. You’ll need to verify your email address before you can proceed and have your application processed. You can expect to receive a follow-up email notifying you whether your application has been approved.
If approved, keep a copy of your approval for your records. This email will also contain your username, which you will need to access the Patient Registry as well as your MMCC patient ID number. Your physician will need your patient ID number in order to issue your written certification for medical cannabis. You will also need your patient ID number when visiting a licensed dispensary, like CULTA, when you purchase medical cannabis.
The final step, after receiving MMCC approval, is to visit a provider registered with MMCC to obtain valid certification. Patients are required by law to have a bona fide provider-patient relationship with the provider. The provider must approve medical cannabis as a treatment option for any patient for a medical condition qualified by the MMCC. Examples provided on the MMCC website include “cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, or another severe chronic medical condition where other treatments have been ineffective.”
Once valid certification is obtained, you’ll be fully registered and able to print a temporary MMCC patient ID card, which is required to purchase cannabis legally in Maryland.
What’s the Process for a Minor to Obtain Legal Medical Cannabis in Maryland?
Minors seeking to purchase medical cannabis are required to have at least one caregiver assigned to their accounts at all times. The only people allowed to be caregivers for minor patients are parents and legal guardians over the age of 21.
Other Important Facts about Maryland Medical Cannabis
An MMCC ID card is required to purchase at any licensed dispensary. Before completing any transaction, a dispensary agent will verify the patient’s certification in the Commission’s database. Patients may only purchase a maximum of a thirty-day supply of medical cannabis at one time. Finally, certification will become null and void if that certification is not used to purchase medical cannabis at a licensed dispensary within 120 days of issuance.
At CULTA, we require all customers to have valid identification and an MMCC patient ID card in order to make a purchase. Please be prepared to show your current and valid documents when requested. For more information on obtaining your medical card, please visit our resource page.