Maryland’s medical marijuana program wasn’t up-and-running until December 1, 2017, almost five years after medical marijuana laws were passed in the state. Since then, Maryland’s medical cannabis market has taken off. There were 70 dispensaries by the end of 2018, which quickly grew to 82 dispensaries and 96,792 patients by July 8, 2019. Qualified patients can apply for a medical cannabis certification and card in Maryland in a few easy steps. Once they have a card, they can start buying a variety of medical cannabis products.
Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card in Maryland
Getting a cannabis medical certification and card in Maryland comes with many benefits for qualifying patients. For one, recreational cannabis is illegal, so the only way to obtain marijuana is with a valid medical card. Medical laws state that you can’t grow weed at home, but you can buy it from a licensed medical dispensary in Maryland or in any state that accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
Maryland’s medical marijuana program is run by Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC). The MMCC has assembled a list of qualifying conditions that are applicable to Maryland residents with proof of residency. If you want to obtain a medical card in Maryland, you must have one or more of these medical conditions:
- Wasting syndrome
- Severe or chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective.
Medical Card Application Process in Maryland
In Maryland, you can register with the MMCC as long as a licensed physician recommends that your condition be treated with medical cannabis. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a medical certification and card in Maryland.
- Register as a patient with MMCC. In order to register, you must have a valid and accessible email account, an electronic copy of a valid US government-issued photo ID, proof of residency, electronic copy of a recent photo, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
- Get a written certification from a licensed medical marijuana doctor who approves the use of medical marijuana for your medical condition.
- Once you have a medical marijuana certification, you can upload all the necessary files, review your application, and complete your patient registration.
- After you submit your application, you will receive a verification email. Click the verification link provided in the email.
- You will receive a separate email letting you know whether you were approved or not.
- If approved, you can log in to your account to select a caregiver. Medical marijuana ID cards cost $50. Once registered, your registration is valid for two years or three years if issued after January 1, 2019.
Minors can also apply for a medical certification and card as long as they have one parent as a caregiver at all times, or a maximum of two caregivers. Caregivers must be 21 years of age or older and register with the MMCC before registering their child. Minors and their caregivers must complete additional notarized forms. Minors must also purchase an ID card for $50.
Finding a Primary Caregiver
Under Maryland law, a primary caregiver is a person who “is able to purchase medical cannabis from a licensed Maryland dispensary on behalf of his or her designated patient(s) and transport the legally obtained medical cannabis to the patient(s).” Caregivers can only serve a maximum of five patients as long as they meet the following requirements.
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Register with the MMCC
- Purchase a caregiver ID card for $50
Buying Medical Marijuana
Once you have a valid written certification, have registered with the MMCC, and obtained a medical card, you can visit any of the licensed Maryland dispensaries to buy medical marijuana. Upon entering a dispensary, you or your caregiver must present their medical marijuana card to buy cannabis. Dispensary staff will verify your registration in the MMCC database.
After you’ve checked in, you’re able to buy up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana at one time. Purchasing limits are determined by the doctor that provided you the medical marijuana certification. Make sure to bring cash because most Maryland dispensaries only accept cash due to banks’ unwillingness to provide services to cannabis companies. Dispensaries offer a variety of dried cannabis flower, concentrates, and topicals. Maryland dispensaries do not sell edibles.
Maryland does not accept out-of-state patients with medical marijuana cards. Dispensaries are only legally allowed to sell to patients registered with the MMCC. You can only register with the MMCC if you’re a Maryland resident over the age of 18 or a minor with a parent caregiver.
Maryland’s medical marijuana program was slow to roll out, but once the market was active, patient registration flourished. There’s no sign of recreational rules being put in place anytime soon. For now, the medical marijuana program provides protection for those seeking relief from their conditions with medical cannabis products.