Recreational Legalization Won’t Make Medical Marijuana Cards Obsolete

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With cannabis laws changing faster than ever, it’s natural to have questions about how these changes will affect patients who have long used medical marijuana for a variety of conditionsDo you still need a medical marijuana card in 2018? Will you be able to find nearby medical marijuana doctors? How is the process for conducting a medical marijuana evaluation going to change?

An Evolving Situation

In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults. Anyone over the age of 21 in California can now possess up to one ounce of cannabis or eight grams of cannabis concentrate. Adults can also transport, obtain, and give cannabis away to other adults, so long as no money is exchanged.

With a market transformation due in 2018 when further changes take effect, it’s a great time to brush up on the law and services that can help you navigate this evolving ecosystem. After all, both medical and recreational consumers look to cannabis to relieve stress, not increase it.

Medical Marijuana Cards Aren’t Going Out of Style

Despite the continuing evolution of adult-use laws across the United States, a medical marijuana card can still come in handy and ensure your access to cannabis for any qualifying condition. That’s important, because the wheels of legislation turn slowly. And thanks to telemedicine services like NuggMD, the process of getting approved for a medical cannabis card near you is easier than ever.

medical cannabis <a href=card doctor consultation" width="840" height="525" />Patients using cannabis as part of treatment can consult with a physician to maintain their medical marijuana card. (sturti/iStock)

California dispensaries are not allowed to make recreational sales until licenses start being issued in January 2018. This means that, depending on where you live, it could be months before recreational cannabis is easily available. Whether you get it from a family physician or a licensed doctor online, having a local medical cannabis recommendation in 2018 guarantees that patients using medical marijuana have unchanged access to the products, dosages, prices, and dispensary locations they’re accustomed to.

There are also some handy fringe benefits to keeping your card current, like the tax-exempt status of medical marijuana. Under Prop 64, recreational cannabis retailers will be taxed by the state, and that’s before considering local city or county taxes that could drive prices up further. Recreational consumers are poised to pay more than medical marijuana patients, with the possibility of even higher taxes down the line.  

Under Prop 64, adults are only allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. But medical cannabis card holders are exempt from this restriction. California’s medical marijuana laws place no limit to the amount of cannabis patients can possess, though the amount has to be reasonable for their condition.

Medical marijuana patients in California also have no limit to the amount of plants they can home grow within reason, unless local governments enact their own laws. In contrast, recreational consumers can cultivate just six plants.

How to Get a California Medical Marijuana Card Near You Today

California’s Proposition 215 has long established a wide array of ailments and conditions “for which marijuana provides relief.” Since its passage in 1996, the state has made it reasonable for anyone 18 or older with proof of US residency to access medical marijuana to treat a variety of illnesses, including (but definitely not limited to) chronic pain, depression, and insomnia.

To access these treatments, patients first need to get a valid medical marijuana card, which they can do in a couple different ways. If you have a primary physician or family doctor, they can issue a medical cannabis recommendation based on your qualifying symptoms or conditions.

If you don’t have a family doctor, or don’t want to consult with them about these options, you can visit a local physician specializing in medical marijuana evaluations. While there are many doctors in the Golden State that fit this bill, it still requires a trip to the doctor’s office, which is nobody’s idea of a good time.

Telemedicine, Delivery, and More

medical marijuana telemedicine appointmentTelemedicine services like NuggMD can make it easy to consult with a physician from your home. (kupicoo/iStock)

Got better things to do than hang around a doctor’s office? Don’t worry—there’s a third option, too. Use a telemedicine service like NuggMD and you won’t even have to conduct a search for “medical marijuana evaluations near me.” Instead, you can consult with a California medical marijuana doctor online from the comfort of your home. The process takes about 10 minutes, costs less than an eighth, and there’s no risk; if you don’t get approved, you don’t pay a thing.

If you’re not leaving the house for a doctor’s appointment, why would you leave it to go to a dispensary? Marijuana delivery services like Nugg (NuggMD’s sister company) can deliver your medical (and soon recreational) cannabis products right to your door. Enter your address to get a list of local dispensaries, in-stock products, competitive prices, and reviews before placing your order. And no worries if you’re not California-based—medical marijuana patients on the east coast can take advantage of telemedicine, too, with NuggMD launching recently in New York.

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