Posted On: July 22, 2022

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California 

California Health and Safety Code 11362.5 also known as Prop. 215, the California Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”), allows you to legally possess, cultivate or transport marijuana in California if the marijuana is used to treat a serious medical condition, it is for personal medical use only, or you have the recommendation or approval of a California-licensed physician.

The act also exempts primary caregivers who possess, transport, or cultivate marijuana for the patient’s personal medical use. 

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How do you get a medical marijuana card in California? 

To get your California medical marijuana identification card (MMIC), you can use two methods.

The first is the traditional method, perfect for those who prefer talking to someone face-to-face. You should schedule an appointment with a physician to examine you and decide your eligibility. Contact your county health department to schedule an appointment.

You must provide proof of ID; a government or state-issued ID card or a driver’s license is acceptable. You must provide proof of your California residency. You can meet the criteria with a mortgage or rental agreement, utility bill, or DMV motor vehicle registration.

Once all of the above documents are prepared, you must complete the application form, found on the state website ( You also need your doctor’s recommendation. Next, you must apply in person at your County Program to receive your medical marijuana card. You’ll pay an application fee and have your photo taken for your ID card. Application fees vary by county but will not be more than $100. 

However, with the advanced technology in California, taking the traditional path is no longer necessary. The second method you can use is the modern method with the following steps: 

See a Medical Professional in Your State

In California, you can now do this from the comfort of your own home via telehealth platforms. It is quick, easy, and HIPAA compliant. 

You will have to fill out an application form on your computer, tablet or phone and then enter a virtual waiting room until a doctor in your state is available. The wait can be as quick as just a few minutes. If you’re in a rush, you can book an appointment and a doctor will call you back according to your availability. 

During the online appointment, your physician will ask you some standard questions. They will need to go over your medical history and the condition for which you are seeking medical marijuana. This is also when you will have the opportunity to have your questions about medical marijuana answered.

Get Your Certification

If the medical professional approves you for medical marijuana, you will receive an approval email. In California, the certificate will be emailed to you shortly after the appointment has finished. You may also be mailed hard copies which will take a few days. This approval email will include clear steps for you to take.

Apply to Your State’s Medical Marijuana Program

If you’ve received your certificate via email, download the PDF copy of your certificate and upload it as part of your application to the state Medical Marijuana Program. 

The recommendation letter will also include a unique 7-character patient ID code registered to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. You can use the recommendation letter to immediately purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary. You need to provide basic medical information, proof of ID, and proof of residency. 

Get Approved and Receive Your Medical Card

After approval, you’ll receive a plastic or digital medical marijuana card which you can use as an ID to legally purchase quality medical marijuana from your local dispensary. 

How much does a medical marijuana card cost in California?

Depending on your state, some costs associated with getting your medical marijuana card may include:

  • Paying to see a licensed medical professional
  • Paying a fee to the state to apply for the license
  • Paying for a caregiver license (if required)
  • Buying the medical marijuana products

However, it is not mandatory to get a California medical marijuana card to gain the benefits of Prop. 215, but purchasing one provides protection against arrest to patients and their caregivers. 

In California, each county can set its own price for a medical marijuana ID card, but it cannot exceed $100. A 50% reduction per card is available across all counties for Medi-Cal eligible applicants. Patients who receive healthcare through a medically indigent service program may have this fee waived entirely. 

How long does it take to get a medical marijuana card in California?

The county has 30 days to validate your application after receiving your application and the required paperwork. You will be informed within that time frame if any information or papers are missing.

Once your application has been validated, the county health department has an additional 5 days to issue your medical marijuana ID card. 

What are the age requirements to get a medical marijuana card in California? 

To apply for a medical marijuana card or recommendation in California, you must be 18 years old or over to apply for yourself, and minors can have caregivers apply on their behalf. 

What can you do if your application is denied? 

If your application is denied, you can file an appeal with the California Department of Public Health free of charge as there is no appeal fee. 

How often do you need to renew your medical marijuana card in California?

Medical marijuana cards in California are valid for one year and they can only be renewed by repeating the application process. Unless your current medical record is still valid, you will need to obtain new documentation. In any case, you will have to submit it with your renewal application.

How do You Become a Budtender in California?

Looking to become a responsible budtender in your state? Take our ANSI-accredited cannabis handler course today. 

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