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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in the Northern Mariana Islands in 2023

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Table of contents

  1. Benefits of Having a Medical Card in the Northern Mariana Islands
  2. Eligibility Requirements
  3. Qualifying Conditions
  4. How to Apply
  5. Steps to Apply
  6. Costs
  7. Medical Marijuana Reciprocity
  8. Applying as a Caregiver
  9. Where to Buy Medical Marijuana
  10. Cultivation
  11. Medical Marijuana Laws to Know in the Northern Mariana Islands

Access to medical marijuana is legal in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory located in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines.

In 2018, then-Governor Ralph Torres signed the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act, which allows adults diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition – including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), glaucoma, ADHD, and ulcerative colitis – to purchase and use cannabis for health purposes.

While medical marijuana is legal in the Northern Mariana Islands, Leafwell does not currently see patients in the territory. Join our waitlist and be the first to know when we start serving patients in the island nation.

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Benefits of Having a Medical Card in the Northern Mariana Islands

Even though recreational cannabis is legal in the Northern Mariana Islands, there are still benefits to having a medical card.

One bonus is that you can grow and carry more cannabis than recreational marijuana users. Another plus is tax breaks – a 15% gross revenue tax is charged on recreational cannabis sales compared to 7.5% for medical marijuana purchasers. This means, on average, you’ll spend less on cannabis products with a medical card.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a medical marijuana card in the Northern Mariana Islands, you must be at least 18 and diagnosed with a qualifying health condition.

The first step to applying for a card is visiting a physician. They must certify that you have a qualifying condition that would benefit from medical marijuana. Next, you must register with the CNMI Department of Public Health. You’ll need to provide official identification, proof of residence, and a signed physician recommendation.

Can Minors Have a Medical Card in the Northern Mariana Islands?

Minors under 18 or adults unable to care for themselves can get a medical card through a parent or caregiver.

In these cases, guardians must handle the application process and be responsible for purchasing and providing products to the person in their care. To be a caregiver, you must file separate paperwork to receive approval.

Qualifying Conditions

You may be eligible for a medical card in the Northern Mariana Islands if you’ve been diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:

Note that the CNMI Cannabis Commission may approve applications for other severe health problems not listed above.

How to Apply

If you live with any qualifying conditions, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. Here are a few crucial things to know about the process.

Documents You’ll Need

  • Identification: You need to have a valid  Northern Mariana Islands driver’s license, ID, or U.S. passport to prove that you’re a resident of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Medical records: You must provide medical records and any other notes or test results from your physician.

Steps to Apply

Now that you have all the necessary documents prepared, you’re ready to apply for a Northern Mariana Islands medical marijuana card. Here’s what to do next.

  • Consult a certified medical cannabis doctor.

To apply for a medical marijuana card in the Northern Mariana Islands, you must undergo an evaluation with a licensed doctor who will ask about your medical history and symptoms. If they determine you qualify, your doctor will fill out a certification form, which will be submitted with your final application to the CNMI Cannabis Commission.

  • Complete and submit the CNMI application.

The final step in the process is completing the necessary steps outlined by the CNMI Cannabis Commission. Applicants can submit their applications for a medical cannabis license at several approved locations across the territory.

  • Get approved and receive your card.

If your application is approved, the CNMI Cannabis Commission will issue you a medical cannabis card. Once your new card arrives, you can legally purchase and possess marijuana products from licensed cannabis businesses.

Costs

It costs $75 to apply for a homegrown license to grow medical cannabis at home.

Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

The CNMI cannabis program does not accept cards from other states or U.S. territories. You can’t use an out-of-state card to buy medical cannabis in the Northern Mariana Islands.

However, the following states allow residents of the Northern Mariana Islands to buy cannabis for medical use:

Applying as a Caregiver

Parents or guardians can apply for a medical cannabis card for a minor or adult who is unable to file on their own. The Northern Mariana Islands require every caregiver to be at least 21 years old. Caregiver information should be included in the medical marijuana patient’s application.

They’ll also need to provide copies of their ID and proof of residence. If the application is approved, the caregiver will be responsible for acquiring medical cannabis products and providing them to the patient.

Where to Buy Medical Marijuana

You can now purchase medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary in the Northern Mariana Islands. Note that you are still subject to possession limits and may be liable to legal punishment if you have more than the allowed amount.

Cultivation

Cannabis cultivation is legal in the Northern Mariana Islands. To qualify for a Homegrown Marijuana Registry Card, you must be at least 21 and meet the standards laid out by the CNMI Cannabis Commission.

Medical cannabis cardholders can grow up to 12 mature and 24 immature plants at their primary residence. Home growers must also follow these rules:

  • Marijuana plants should be cultivated out of public view.
  • Reasonable precautions should be taken to protect anyone under 21 from accessing or consuming homegrown cannabis. You may be fined up to $1,000 and serve a 30-day jail term.
  • Do not sell any homegrown cannabis.
  • Ensure you have homeowner approval to cultivate crops if you’re renting. Landlords are entitled to prohibit growing cannabis on their premises.

Medical Marijuana Laws to Know in the Northern Mariana Islands

The 2018 Cannabis Act legalized recreational cannabis use. It allows the possession and transportation of up to:

  • 16 ounces of marijuana in solid form
  • 72 ounces of marijuana in liquid form
  • Five ounces of useable marijuana at home
  • One ounce of useable cannabis while in public but out of view
  • 12 immature marijuana plants
  • Six mature cannabis plants
  • Five grams of cannabis extract

The CNMI legislation also created a Homegrown Marijuana Registry for adult use and medical marijuana patients to track residents growing their own cannabis.

Medical or recreational use of cannabis by anyone under 21 is illegal. The CNMI bans the display or use of cannabis in or near schools, playgrounds, businesses, government buildings, and other public spaces.

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Article written by

Samuel Njoroge