Maryland Medical Marijuana Card
Learn How To Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Maryland
Medical cannabis is now available to Maryland residents, almost four years following the General Assembly’s legalization of it. The implementation of the law and the startup of the industry—from doctors and dispensaries to processors and growers—took much longer than everyone expected. The law required minor adjustments, rules had to be written and rewritten, and the licensing battle had to be fought. Here, potential users will learn what they need to know about medical cannabis in Maryland.
Who Can Get a Medical Cannabis Recommendation in Maryland?
According to state law, Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission has been advised to approve recommendations for the following groups:
- Patients with debilitating or chronic medical conditions, those in hospice, and those in palliative care settings
- Those with chronic diseases that bring symptoms (or treatment side effects) such as anorexia, chronic pain, seizures, nausea, muscle spasms and cachexia
- Patients who’ve been diagnosed with severe conditions and have not seen success with other medical treatments. Here, the expectation of symptom relief via medical cannabis must be reasonable.
- Patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Those with glaucoma
How Can Patients Get a Medical Cannabis Certification?
To receive a written certification for medical cannabis, a consumer must first complete an online patient registration with the state commission. Along with Maryland’s residents, non-residents in the state for medical treatment can register as well. A patient must provide electronic copies of their government-issued photo identification, a clear, recent photograph, proof of their address, and the last four digits of their SSN. Potential applicants can find out about the process on the Medical Cannabis Commission’s website.
For those under the age of 18, a parent or guardian over 21 must register as a caregiver before the patient can register. After the registration is complete, a patient must obtain a recommendation in writing from a registered provider. The provider must obtain the patient’s commission-issued identification number and issue the certificate through the Commission’s online form. If the certificate isn’t used to buy medical cannabis within 120 days of issuance, it is voided. A patient has the option to buy an ID card from the commission after receiving written certification, at the price of $50.
Do Patients Have to Visit Certain Doctors to Get a Medical Cannabis Certification?
Like the patients who seek treatment, doctors and medical providers who recommend medical cannabis to their patients must register with the Commission. Over 500 providers, including dentists, nurses, and doctors, have signed up for the program, according to the Commission’s most recent data. Visit MedChi or MarijuanaDoctors.com to find a list of doctors licensed by the Medical Cannabis Commission and the Board of Physicians.
Can a Doctor Prescribe Medical Cannabis?
No, it’s against federal law to prescribe medicinal marijuana. Physicians and medical providers can only issue or recommend certifications for medical cannabis.
Where Can Patients Get Medical Marijuana?
Of the state’s 102 dispensaries that have been approved, 34 are currently open. Others will open in the next several weeks, and 12 others have recently been approved. More dispensaries are in development, but according to state law, there may be only two in each of Maryland’s legislative districts. Licensed growers are allowed to hold a Maryland dispensary license, and they are exempt from this rule.
Can Patients Get Varying Products and Strains at the Area’s Dispensaries?
Yes, they can. Many of Maryland’s dispensaries offer different dried cannabis strains; these have different properties to treat multiple conditions. Along with the dried form, some medical cannabis dispensaries are offering liquids for vaporization, concentrates, oils, wax, topical creams, accessories, and pills. Some of these extracts can be used in food, but Maryland’s dispensaries do not offer edible cannabis products.
How Much Does Medical Cannabis Cost?
The price may vary according to certain factors. For instance, the Ijamsville dispensary Kannavis sells the dried form for approximately $50-$60 per .125 ounce, or about $100 per quarter-ounce. A one-half-gram vape cartridge of cannabis extract from Kannavis costs about $90. Some dispensaries have gone cashless, accepting debit and credit cards only.
Does Insurance Cover Medicinal Marijuana?
Health insurers are not mandated to cover the cost of medical cannabis, but private insurers are allowed to develop policies that cover it. According to recent information, Kaiser Permanente does not cover medical cannabis; information for CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield and United Healthcare wasn’t available at the time of this writing.
Cannabis is Still Classified as an Illegal Drug by the Federal Government. How Does That Affect Maryland?
Customers of Maryland’s dispensaries cannot move to other states with the products they buy. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) doesn’t screen for cannabis, but it’s typically confiscated if it’s found during a random search.
Has the FDA Approved Medical Cannabis?
No, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet approved a product derived from or containing marijuana. Doctors and patients are not allowed to grow their own cannabis for medicinal use.
How Much Cannabis Can a Patient Possess at Once?
A patient can carry up to four ounces or 120 grams unless a doctor determines that they need more. In the extract form, a customer can purchase 36 grams of the active ingredient (THC) each month. Those who are certified to purchase medical marijuana cannot sell or give it to others.
What Will Happen if a Patient is Stopped by the Authorities When Carrying Cannabis?
Medicinal marijuana patients are not required to consent to searches, and they don’t have to tell the police they’re carrying the product. If cannabis is found during a police search, the patient should provide his or her medical marijuana ID Card or direct the official to the Commission’s database of registered patients. Driving while intoxicated by marijuana is still illegal.
What About Drug Testing in the Workplace?
Maryland’s laws do not prevent its employers from screening employees for cannabis use, and they don’t offer any protections to those who test positive. If an employee is terminated because of his or her positive result, they have no legal recourse.
What Are the Chances That Recreational Use Will Become Legal in Maryland?
During the state’s 2017 General Assembly, several of Maryland’s Democratic legislators introduced a bill to hold a referendum on the legalization of recreational cannabis use while taxing and regulating it. While the bill did not gain very much support, the issue is here to stay. Several other states, which have legalized recreational marijuana use, are seeing a significant revenue increase from product sales.
What’s in the Future for Medical Cannabis?
Barry Williams, Baltimore’s City Circuit Judge, said that a trial would determine whether the state’s regulators acted illegally when they determined who would receive licenses to grow cannabis. However, the trial date hasn’t yet been set. Lawmakers will likely address questions over insufficient minority ownership among licensed companies, which may increase the number of authorized processors and growers. From the consumer’s standpoint, that may lead to lower prices and a more plentiful supply of the product. Regardless of these developments, the state’s current laws call for the Commission to evaluate whether the number of growers can meet the state’s demand, and to issue the appropriate number of licenses. Maryland’s medical cannabis industry looks bright indeed, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon.