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The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card

closeup hand holding a Leafwell's medical marijuana card

You can see a doctor in person, but telehealth options like Leafwell make it simpler than ever to get a medical marijuana card. Telemedicine offers improved access to healthcare services, particularly for people whose mobility is limited or whose health or location makes traveling to a physician’s clinic difficult. It’s also quick and easy and can be done at a time that suits you — making it ideal for busy lifestyles.

Learn more about how to get a medical marijuana card online, including the application steps, getting certified in your state, and applying as a caregiver for your child.

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Steps to Take Before Applying for a Medical Card

Before you apply, you’ll need to check if you’re eligible for a medical marijuana card (or MMJ card).

A list of conditions is attached to every medical marijuana program (except Oklahoma, Maine, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.). Based on this list, our doctors must decide whether to approve each patient. When you speak with one of our medical marijuana doctors, they will ask you about your condition and symptoms.

You must be honest with the physician, so we can give you the best advice possible for your condition. When you book your appointment, you’ll be asked to provide the physician with your medical records. This allows our doctors to make informed decisions about your healthcare. For most states, you do not need to provide medical records. For others, it is a requirement. Your medical records may include:

  • Physician’s progress notes
  • Health summary
  • Medication list

These need to be uploaded onto our secure HIPAA-compliant platform ahead of your appointment with your physician. We recommend you gather everything you’ll need together before starting the application process to make it as quick and easy as possible. All your medical notes are confidential, and we never share any information with third parties.

Understand Your State’s Laws

There isn’t medical marijuana program at the federal level, and every state has laws regarding using and possessing medical marijuana.

Here are some common, general laws which most states with a Medical Marijuana Program have in some form or another:

  • The possession and purchase limits are capped (generally based on a reasonable monthly amount for an individual to use).
  • The consumption of medical marijuana is banned from public spaces; specifically, government buildings, schools, or anywhere children are present, dining areas, and public transport.
  • States which permit home cultivation require all plants to be out of public view and ideally locked away.
  • It is illegal to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of medical marijuana.
  • Individuals with an MMJ card are not permitted to own firearms.
  • Federal employees are not permitted to use medical marijuana, even in legal states (this may change, though).

Again, states differ, and the above list is not exhaustive. Stay informed about laws in your state, as changes happen swiftly about cannabis and the law.

wooden gavel on US map

Determine If You Have a Qualifying Condition

To qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card, most states require that you see a state-licensed medical professional to confirm that you are suffering from one or more of a pre-approved list of medical conditions. Conditions may be physical such as cancer, epilepsy, or HIV, or mental such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

Every state has a different list of conditions it considers ‘qualifying,’ but here are the most commonly featured medical conditions:

Most states also permit MMJ Cards for terminally ill patients as part of their palliative care routine. However, some states only allow this when the patient has a predicted life expectancy of six months or one year.

Remember, every state list is different. To find out which conditions are included in your state, check out the page for your state.

cannabis buds in a tumbled pill container on a prescription sheet

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card

Follow these steps to apply for a medical marijuana card in your home state.

See a Medical Professional in Your State

For many states, you can now do this via telehealth platforms like Leafwell, so you don’t have to leave your home or take a huge chunk out of your day traveling to a medical marijuana clinic. It is quick, easy, and HIPAA-compliant.

Simply fill out our application form on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone, then enter our virtual waiting room until a doctor in your state is available. The wait is usually only a few minutes. If you’re short on time, you can book an appointment, and a doctor will call you back at a time that suits you.

During this online meeting, your physician will ask you standard questions, like when you see your doctor in person. They will need to ask about your medical history and the condition for which you seek medical marijuana. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions about medical marijuana.

Get Your Certification

If the medical professional approves you for medical cannabis, you will receive an approval email. In some states, the certificate will be emailed to you shortly after the appointment has finished. In others, you will receive an email from the state once the provider submits your details into the program. Others even require hard copies, which will be mailed to you. Whatever the process for your state, your approval email will include clear next-step instructions.

Apply to Your State’s Medical Marijuana Program

In most states, registering with the medical marijuana program is a necessity. If you’ve received your certificate via email, download the PDF copy and upload it as part of your application to the state Medical Marijuana Program. Some states require the physician to submit the certificate directly to them. Again, our step-by-step guides will talk you through this every step of the way.

Get Approved and Receive Your Medical Card

Depending on your state, you’ll receive a plastic or digital Medical Marijuana Card from your state, which you can use as ID to legally purchase quality medical marijuana from your local dispensary. Some states are working on updating their systems to provide digital medical cannabis ID cards.

Some states have more steps, some have fewer. Some change the order, some states don’t require holding a physical card. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t — at least when you’ve got the experienced customer service team at Leafwell to help you. We’ve done the legwork for you: our team fully understands every program in every state, so we’re ready to guide you through each process, step by step, if required.


There are a few separate costs associated with getting your medical marijuana card. Not all of these apply in every state or to every patient:

  • Paying to see a licensed medical professional
  • Paying a fee to the state to apply for the license
  • Renewing your card (and certificate) when it expires
  • Paying for a caregiver license (if required)
  • Buying the medical marijuana products

All states require a certificate from a licensed professional (which you can obtain via Leafwell’s HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform). Our fees vary state by state, and you’ll get approved or your money back.

As every state has its own medical marijuana program, every state has the authority to set its own pricing and how often the cards need to be renewed. Some cards are valid for three years (such as in Illinois), and some are valid for 90 days (such as in Utah). The frequency you have to renew your card will impact its cost so bear this in mind.


There are often several benefits to having a medical marijuana identification card, even in states with legal adult use. This includes money saved on taxes, special offers for patients in dispensaries, higher possession and purchase limits, and access to a wider variety of products.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for Your Child

You may be able to obtain a medical marijuana card for your child, depending on your state of residency. Here are the steps to follow as a caregiver.

Determine If Your State Allows Primary Caregivers

Most Medical Marijuana Programs permit people aged 18 and up to apply as patients. However, many also allow minor patients (under 18) to apply with the support of a parent or legal guardian in some states.

Understand Qualifying Conditions in Children

Many state medical marijuana programs have conditions on the list specifically for children. Some of the most common conditions that children suffer from and may be prescribed medical marijuana are:

Note that some states have different qualifying conditions for minor patients than adults. You can check the conditions on the individual state pages of our website.

Accept Caregiver Laws and Responsibilities

There are certain caregiver laws and responsibilities that you will need to consider. For example, given that state laws explicitly state that medical marijuana cannot be consumed on school property, it may be necessary to make arrangements for your child to take a dose off-site during the school day. You will also need to follow any other rules and regulations set forth by your home state.

How to Apply as a Caregiver

You’ll need to follow a few protocols to apply as a caregiver for your child. First, note that some states require two separate physician certifications to be submitted: you can obtain two from us if this is the case. To do this, you’ll need to book two telehealth appointments, one after the other. You may also need to see a pediatric specialist, which Leafwell can help provide.

Depending on the minor’s age, the consultation will include the parent and child if appropriate. If your child is very young, our physicians will speak directly with you as the parent or legal guardian. As with adult patients, we’ll need to see a comprehensive medical history and ask questions related to the qualifying condition as part of the appointment.

Apply for your medical marijuana card in minutes through Leafwell’s virtual clinic. Our medical team is here to guide you through the application process step by step.

Get your medical marijuana card

Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will my insurance cover my MMJ card and costs?

Cannabis is illegal at the federal level. This means that even if your state has decriminalized or legalized recreational/medical marijuana use, your medical insurance will not cover the cost of applying for the card or buying the products.

How long is my medical card valid?

Most medical marijuana cards are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Can I renew an existing card?

Yes, you can renew an existing medical marijuana card by filing a renewal application in your state and going through any other required procedures. Some states allow you to file for renewal up to 60 days before your current card expires. Timely renewing ensures that you maintain access to medical marijuana products.

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