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medical marijuana identification card program

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Applying for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)

Where can I apply for an MMIC?

You can obtain an MMIC only at your county program and not through your attending physician or an evaluation center. Visit the county offices and contact information page.

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I am a qualified patient. How and what documentation do I need to apply for a MMIC?

You will need to fill out an Application/Renewal Form. You must reside in the California county where the application is submitted. You will need to provide current documentation with your application as follows:

  • A copy of your medical recommendation.
  • Proof of identity. This can be a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver license or identification (ID) card or other valid government-issued photo ID card.
  • Proof of residency, such as:
    • Rental or mortgage agreement,
    • Utility bill, or
    • California DMV motor vehicle registration.

You must apply in person at your county program. There, you will be asked to:

  • Pay the fee required by your county program (not to exceed $100). Medi-Cal beneficiaries will receive a 50 percent reduction in the application fee (not to exceed $50), and the fees shall be waived for indigent patients who are eligible for and participate in the County Medical Services Program.
  • Have your photo taken at the county's program office. This photo will appear on your MMIC.

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How long will it take to get my MMIC?

Once you submit your completed application form with the required documents (proof of residency, medical documentation, etc.) to your county program, the county has 30 days to verify your application. Once the application is verified, the county program has five days to make the MMIC available to you. It can take up to 35 days to receive your MMIC if the application is complete and the county program finds no reason to deny your application. If any information or documents are missing, this may delay processing your application. If this is the case, your county's program will contact you within 30 days from the day you submit your application. If you do not receive your MMIC within 35 days, contact your county's program.

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How long is an MMIC valid?

The MMIC may be valid up to one year. A primary caregiver MMIC will expire when the patient's card expires even if it is less than 12 months.

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How do I renew my MMIC?

Renewing an MMIC requires the same process as when you originally applied. This includes verifying your information and giving you a new MMIC and unique user identification number. If your medical documentation is still valid, you may use this for your renewal. It may be necessary for you to obtain new medical documentation. Your county program will verify any information they feel is necessary. You will need to contact their office for more information.

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Why do I need to apply for my MMIC in person?

Your county program will need to take your photo, which will appear on the MMIC. Also, certain verifications will need to be completed in person.

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Can a minor apply for an MMIC?

Yes. A minor (under 18 years of age) can apply as a patient or caregiver under certain conditions. Minors may apply for themselves as qualified patients if they are lawfully emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status. If the minor has not declared self-sufficient status or is not emancipated, the county program is required to contact the minor's parent, legal guardian, or person with legal authority to make medical decisions for the minor. This is to verify information on the Application/Renewal Form. An emancipated minor or the minor's parent of a qualified patient may apply as a primary caregiver. If a minor declares status as a self-sufficient minor or is an emancipated minor, their county health department may require additional documentation. Contact your county's program for more information on additional required documentation.

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What can be proof of identity for a minor?

Minors may use a valid government-issued photo identification, such as a California driver license or a California ID. A certified copy of a birth certificate can be sufficient proof of identity for a minor.

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My application for an MMIC was denied. How can I appeal this decision?

Please see the Appeals web page for more information on appealing a county's decision to deny your application.

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Is it necessary to include copies of my medical records with my application?

No. MMICP offers a form to serve this purpose. The Written Documentation of Patients Medical Records Form. This is a form your attending physician can use to state in writing that you have a serious medical condition and that the use of medical marijuana is appropriate. The original is submitted with your application and a copy must be kept in your medical records at your physician's office.

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I am a legal representative for a qualified patient who cannot make their own medical decisions. Can I apply for them?

Yes. A conservator with authority to make medical decisions, surrogate decision maker authorized under an advanced health care directive, an attorney-in-fact under durable power of attorney for healthcare, or any other individual authorized by statutory or decisional law to make medical decisions for the qualified patient may apply for that patient.

What happens to my application and other private health information after I give it to my county program?

The administering agency must implement and utilize appropriate procedures and protocols to ensure compliance with all applicable confidentiality laws and requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The Medical Marijuana Application System does not contain any personally identifiable information such as name, address or social security number. It only contains the unique user identification number, and when entered, the only information provided is whether the card is valid or invalid.

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What is a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) and how can it help me?

The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person protected under the provisions of Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act, 1996) and Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27, Statutes of 2017). It is used to help law enforcement identify the cardholder as being able to legally possess certain amounts of medical marijuana under specific conditions.

Under Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 2016), patients who present a valid MMIC do not have to pay the sales and use tax when making retail purchases of medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products or topical cannabis. For more information, please visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration's website.

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How do I know if I qualify for an MMIC?

You will need to discuss this with your attending physician. In order to qualify for the protections of Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act of 1996) and Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27, Statutes of 2017), you will need to be diagnosed with a serious medical condition. The diagnosis and your physician's recommendation that the use of medical marijuana is appropriate for you must be documented in your medical records.

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What serious medical condition(s) do I need to have to qualify for an MMIC?

A serious medical condition, as defined by Senate Bill 94 (Chapter 27, Statutes of 2017), is any of the following: AIDS; anorexia; arthritis; cachexia (wasting syndrome); cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms (e.g., spasms associated with multiple sclerosis); seizures (e.g., epileptic seizures); severe nausea; any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person's ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person's safety, physical, or mental health.

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Can the state MMICP refer me to an attending physician?

No. The state MMICP does not maintain lists of physicians, nor is it a referral service.

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How do I replace my MMIC if it is lost, stolen, or damaged?

Please contact your county program for more details and fees.

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Is my MMIC valid outside of California?

It may be, but contact the state first. California does not recognize other state's MMIC.

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Is my MMIC valid in other California counties?

Yes. This is a statewide identification card and registry program.

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What information will appear on the MMIC?

  • A unique user identification number of the cardholder.
  • Date of expiration of the identification card.
  • Name and telephone number of the county program that has approved the application.
  • Internet address used to verify the validity of the MMIC.
  • Photo identification of the cardholder.
  • "Patient" or "Primary Caregiver" to specify the cardholder.

 

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How much does it cost to apply for an MMIC?

All administrative costs for the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program at the county level are fee supported.

Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 2016), Health and Safety Code Section 11362.755 requires the county program to establish application fees for persons seeking to obtain, renew, or replace identification cards. 

Pursuant to this law, county programs may charge an amount (not to exceed $100) per Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) application or renewal, must give a 50 percent reduction per card for Medi-Cal eligible applicants, and  waive fees for indigent patients who are eligible for, and participate in, the County Medical Services Program. The counties have authority to cover their expenses through the application fees; therefore, established fees will vary by county. Please contact your county program to find out what the MMIC fee is.

 Primary Caregiver   

What is a primary caregiver?

A primary caregiver is a person who is consistently responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a qualified patient.  A primary caregiver must be at least 18 years of age, unless the primary caregiver is an emancipated minor or the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient. This may be an individual or the owner, operator or employee of an appropriately licensed clinic, facility, hospice, or home health agency.  For more information, please visit the Responsibilities:  Applicant, Primary Caregiver, and Physician web page.

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Why does a patient need to accompany a primary caregiver to obtain the primary caregiver's MMIC?

Only a patient can apply for a patient or primary caregiver MMIC. Both the patient and the primary caregiver must provide certain personal information to the county program. Contact your county program for details on their application process.

I am a caregiver for a bedridden qualified patient. What can I do to help my patient apply for an MMIC?

Check with your county's program for information.

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I am a primary caregiver for a qualified patient. How do I apply for an MMIC?

As a primary caregiver you cannot apply for an MMIC. The patient you care for is responsible for applying for your MMIC. Your patient will need to fill out an Application/Renewal Form and check the appropriate box on the top of page one to include primary caregiver. You do not need to reside in the county where the application is submitted, but you must provide information on your residence.

If you are the primary caregiver for more than one qualified patient, you must reside in the same county as them. You will need to provide proof of identity which can be a California Department of Motor Vehicles driver's license or California identification (ID) card or other government-issued photo ID card. You must apply in person at the patient's county program. There you will be asked to:

  • Pay the fee required by the county program.
  • Have your photo taken at the county office. This photo will appear on your MMIC.

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Are patients and their primary caregivers required to enroll in Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP)?

No. Participation in MMICP is voluntary.

 

Other FAQs

How does Proposition 64 affect patients who use medical cannabis?

 

Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, 2016) made the following changes to the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP):

 
  • It extended privacy protection to patients who hold a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) issued under the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA). Health and Safety Code Section §11362.713 provides for privacy rights of patients by ensuring that all patient information is deemed "medical information," under California's Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
  • It continued the MMIC, limited the maximum fee to $100 per card, limited the Medi-Cal maximum fee to $50 per card, and allowed for a fee waiver for indigent patients.
  • It granted new custodial and parental rights protections for patients as follows: "The status and conduct of a qualified patient who acts in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act shall not, by itself, be used to restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of family or juvenile court."
  • Qualified patients or their primary caregivers are exempted from retail sales tax on medical cannabis, medical cannabis concentrate, edible medical cannabis products, or topical cannabis if they present a valid MMIC issued by CDPH at the time of purchase.
 

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What are Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, Senate Bill (SB) 420, SB 94, and SB 798?

 

Proposition 215 is another term for the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Proposition 215 was the first statewide medical marijuana measure voted into law in the United States. Proposition 215 established protections to seriously ill persons who have their doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for medical purposes. Proposition 215 also provided protections to the physicians and primary caregivers who assist these seriously ill persons, who are known as "qualified patients" under SB 420 (Chapter 875, Statutes of 2003). SB 420 was enacted into the Health and Safety Code (Sections 11362.7 through 11362.83) to address problems with Proposition 215.

 

SB 420 required the CDPH to create the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP). The state MMICP is responsible for developing and maintaining a web-based  verification system for Medical Marijuana Identification Cards or "MMICs." MMICs are available to qualified patients and their primary caregivers. The intent of SB 420 was to help law enforcement and qualified patients create a form of identification for qualified patients that is official and uniform throughout the state. The web-based verification system allows law enforcement to verify that a MMIC is valid. For more information see the MMIC verification webpage.

 

In 2017, Governor Brown signed SB 94 (Chapter 27, Statutes of 2017), which effectively repealed the "Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act" and replaced it with the provisions set forth in the bill, now known as the "Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act" (MAUCRSA). Among other things, the bill codified industry regulation, legalized adult-use of cannabis, and created a taxation framework. MAUCRSA also preserved MMICP and exempted all MMIC cardholders from sales and use taxes on retail sales of medicinal cannabis products.

 

Later that year, Governor Brown signed SB 798 (Chapter 775, Statutes of 2017), which amended the qualifications of doctors accepted to provide recommendations for medicinal cannabis to include those certified by the California Board of Podiatric Medicine.

 

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How much medical marijuana can I have in my possession?

 

Per Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77, a qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess no more than eight (8) ounces of dried marijuana per qualified patient. In addition, a qualified patient or primary caregiver may also maintain no more than six (6) mature or twelve (12) immature marijuana plants.

 

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Where can I get the seeds or plants to start growing marijuana for my medical use? How can I get related products?

 

The Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program is not authorized to provide information on acquiring marijuana or other related products.

 

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Will the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) go away?

 

Although Proposition 64 amended some statutory provisions governing MMICP, it did not abolish it. CDPH continues to print Medical Marijuana Identifcation Cards and maintain a webpage for verification of qualified patients and their primary caregivers.

 
 
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