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.
Although cannabis is legal for recreational use in Maryland, there are still benefits to keeping your medical cannabis card active. From skipping taxes to being able to purchase larger amounts, here are five reasons why you should keep your medical cannabis card active in Maryland, even now that cannabis is legal for recreational adult use in the state.
Medical Patients Won’t Pay Taxes
Did you know that recreational cannabis is subject to a 9% sales tax? And that this tax doesn’t apply to medical cannabis? Since state sales tax doesn’t apply to medical products, patients who keep their medical card active are exempt from sales tax. While 9% doesn’t seem like much, especially since most Marylanders are accustomed to paying tax on other everyday use items, over time, it can certainly add up.
If you’re a medical patient that uses cannabis frequently, is on a fixed income, or is on disability for your condition, you’ll want to keep your card active and avoid this additional sales tax.
Priority Lines & Express Pick-Up
In an effort to cater to medical patients, many dispensaries will offer medical cardholders exclusive access to perks like priority lines and express pick-up. As the state transitions to recreational use, one can expect longer lines and more crowded dispensaries than usual, at least until the novelty wears off.
By keeping your medical card active, you can continue to enjoy dispensaries the way you used to, with shorter lines and quicker checkout. Some dispensaries might even offer additional discounts for medical patients.
Medical marijuana reciprocity means that you’ll be able to use your Maryland medical card to purchase medical marijuana in other states. Although not every state participates in medical marijuana reciprocity, these states may offer medical cannabis reciprocity in some form:
- Washington D.C.
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Of course, medical marijuana laws are always changing so if you’re traveling to any of these states and are concerned about securing medical marijuana while out-of-state, please review the latest laws in that state before traveling.
Medical Patients Can Purchase in Higher Quantities
If avoiding taxes and being able to purchase medical marijuana in other states isn’t reason enough to keep your medical card active, maybe this will be -- patients with Maryland medical cannabis cards can purchase and possess more marijuana. In fact, medical cardholders will be able to buy over 100% more cannabis (120 grams or 36 grams of THC extract every 30 days) in a single visit.
Not only does this mean you’ll be able to purchase more products, but you’ll also be able to purchase higher potency products than recreational users. Additionally, medical patients may be able to increase their allotment if they need higher doses to manage their conditions. Currently, there is no way for recreational users to increase their allotment.
Lower Age Limit
The legal age for adult use in Maryland is 21. This means that you’ll need to be 21+ to enter a dispensary, and you’ll need to be 21+ to use cannabis. Under the laws for medical use in the state, children who meet their provider’s criteria for medical cannabis can become legal patients, as long as they have a parent or guardian to serve as a caregiver.
If you’re a current medical patient that’s under 21, this is a major reason why you need to keep your medical card active. If not, you’ll lose access to your medication until you turn 21.
What’s the Process for Legally Obtaining Medical Cannabis in Maryland?
Although recreational cannabis is legal in Maryland for those 21+, some individuals may choose to renew (or apply for a new) medical card. Medical patients enjoy a host of benefits, including special discounts, exclusive service, and everything else mentioned above. If you’d like to apply for a brand new medical card, here’s how:
The first step for adults seeking to obtain medical cannabis in Maryland is to register as a patient with the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA). 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 MCA Registry website.
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 MCA 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 MCA approval, is to visit a provider registered with MCA 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 MCA Examples provided on the MCA 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 MCA 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 MCA 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 purchase medical cannabis. 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.
If you don’t have a valid medical card, you can still purchase recreational cannabis from CULTA. To learn more, read Adult-Use Cannabis in Maryland: What You Need to Know.