- A medical card can save you money on every marijuana purchase.
- See a healthcare provider on your schedule.
- Pay only $49 for your appointment — and get your money back if not approved!
Register online with Leafwell
You can speak to a doctor and qualify for a California medical marijuana card online. The cost of the online consultation is $49 for a CA physician’s medicinal cannabis recommendation letter. For $59, we’ll also send you a physician-issued Leafwell ID card. You are only billed if approved.
Discuss Medical Marijuana with your Doctor
During your appointment, a Leafwell physician will ask you questions based on your medical history and provide you with advice and guidance on whether medical marijuana is a good choice for you.
Receive your certificate from Leafwell
We’ll immediately email your certificate after your successful appointment. Your certificate is valid for one year and includes an ID number that allows you to visit dispensaries in California and protects you under the state’s medical marijuana laws.
We’ll also send you a hard copy in the mail.
Apply for a Card with the State of California (optional)
Though you don’t need an MMJ card in California, you can also apply for a state-issued medical marijuana ID card. You will need a state-issued MMIC in order to benefit from reciprocity and tax benefits. A physician-issued card and recommendation is not enough.
Benefits of Having a Medical Card in California
Regardless of California’s legal recreational market, there are good reasons to get a medical marijuana card.
Medical cannabis patients in California only pay a 15% tax on their products (and some municipal taxes) for a total tax rate of between 15% and 19.75%. In contrast, recreational users can pay up to 41% in some municipalities, with a general tax range of 27.5-40.75% on adult-use products. This means California state medical marijuana identification card holders can save up to 25% on taxes on the purchase of cannabis.
Access to More Products
Medical cannabis patients also have access to more products and stores because not all jurisdictions in California have allowed recreational cannabis dispensaries. Only 161 of California’s 482 municipalities have allowed recreational storefronts to operate.
Higher Possession Limits
The amount of cannabis that medical marijuana patients can possess and grow is more generous. Patients can carry up to eight ounces of flower or concentrate. Recreational users can only have up to one ounce of flower and eight ounces of concentrate.
It’s important to not take your cannabis over state lines. If you are moving around the state of California with cannabis, keep it to reasonable amounts (e.g., one ounce/28.5 grams or less of dried flower or eight grams of hashish/concentrate, as per recreational laws), and preferably locked away and safely kept.
A note: Leafwell offers a physician-issued card for an additional $10. This can be a valuable form of ID in California and confirms your eligibility for medical marijuana and your status as a qualifying patient. However, it is not the official, state-issued medical marijuana ID card (MMIC), so it lacks some advantages that medical marijuana identification cards have. This official card provides benefits, including further tax breaks and reciprocity with other medical cannabis states that recognize out-of-state patients. To obtain this, you’ll need to apply directly to the state after approval with Leafwell.
To apply for a Medical Marijuana Card or recommendation in California, you must be a legal resident of California. Patients must be aged 18 or over to apply for a medical marijuana card, and minors can have caregivers apply on their behalf.
California has a private, doctor-run registry that allows you to visit medical marijuana dispensaries in California and puts you under the protection of the state’s medical marijuana laws. Those who wish to take advantage of the tax and reciprocity laws should also apply for a state-issued MMIC.
Can Minors Get a Medical Card in California?
Yes, minors under 18 can have caregivers apply on their behalf. Like adult patients, minors must obtain a qualified doctor’s recommendation. During the application process, minors must designate a caregiver, who must submit their own application and identifying materials.
Medical cannabis caregivers must be 18 and meet the following criteria to apply:
- The person you care for is legally entitled to use medical marijuana.
- You meet the legal definition of a primary caregiver under the Compassionate Use Act. “Primary caregiver” means the individual designated by the person exempted under this section who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.”
Primary caregivers may possess and cultivate an amount of marijuana reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs. A caregiver may apply for a Medical Marijuana ID Card (MMIC), but you do not need to do this, just as patients don’t need a card.
Some patients may be eligible for an MMJ Card but cannot apply themselves. For example, should the patient be a minor under 18, or if the patient needs assistance accessing medical cannabis, these patients can assign a caregiver to complete the process on their behalf.
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Pain, Muscle Pain and Other Types of Pain
- Eating Disorders (e.g. Anorexia, Bulimia, Obesity)
- Headache & Migraine
- Muscle Spasms
- Nausea & Vomiting
What You’ll Need to Apply
To apply for your MMJ Card in California (known as an MMIC), you must show your signed recommendation, which provides proof of your condition and identification documents. You should gather together the following:
- A photo ID, such as a CA driver’s license, a state-produced identification card, or a passport
- A signed physician’s recommendation declaring your medical condition qualifies for medical use. With Leafwell, a PDF version that includes your unique patient ID will be emailed to you upon completing your consultation with a registered practitioner. A hard copy with a gold seal is mailed to you as well.
It’s not required to bring your medical records to your doctor’s consultation, but it can help your physician make a more accurate and thorough assessment.
The initial consultation with one of Leafwell’s California registered practitioners via our HIPAA-compliant online consultation service is a flat fee of $49 for a rec letter. However, you will only be charged if you qualify for an MMJ Card and our practitioner elects to sign your certificate.
You can also get a physician-issued card, though this differs from a state-issued MMIC. The card and the recommendation certificate from Leafwell are valid for one year. Every time you renew, you must meet with a state-licensed physician via a telemedicine platform like Leafwell.
There is no additional fee for applications that include a designated caregiver. However, a consultation for a minor costs $99. A state-issued MMIC card cost depends on your county of residence. County programs may not charge more than $100 for application or renewal and waive fees for patients who are eligible for and participate in the County Medical Services Program.
Insurance does not currently cover the cost of applying for an MMJ Card in California because cannabis is illegal at the federal level.
Medical Marijuana Reciprocity
California does not recognize other states’ medical marijuana cards and thus does not have reciprocity. Out-of-state patients may apply for the CA medical marijuana program without proof of residence.
Several other states, however, practice reciprocity and will recognize a California medicinal marijuana card. The following states accept or recognize CA medical marijuana cards:
- Alaska ^
- Arkansas *
- Colorado ^
- Connecticut ^
- Hawaii *
- Illinois ^
- Maryland ^ (as of July 2023)
- Michigan (qualifying state must also have reciprocity with Michigan)
- Missouri ^
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey *
- New Mexico * (recreational cannabis is legal in NM)
- New York ^
- Oklahoma *
- Oregon ^
- Pennsylvania (minors only)
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- U.S. Virgin Islands *
- Utah (max. 45 days, after which the patient must apply for a Utah MMJ card)
- Vermont ^
- Virginia ^
- Washington ^
- Washington D.C.
States marked with * require visitors to complete a visiting patient application for the duration of their stay.
States marked with ^ have adult use programs but do not accept out-of-state cards.
Please note that a physician-issued medical cannabis card or recommendation letter will not work for reciprocity. You will need a State of California-issued medical marijuana identity card (MMIC) to benefit from reciprocity. However, entering another state’s medical cannabis dispensaries is at the dispensary’s discretion.
Where to Buy Medical Marijuana in CA
In California, medical marijuana patients may acquire cannabis at either medical-only licensed dispensaries or establishments that sell both adult-use and medical products. However, some jurisdictions only allow medical marijuana retailers within their borders, meaning that MMJ cardholders have increased product access. A bill passed in 2021 also allows medical retailers to provide discounts or donate cannabis products to low-income patients and exempts these products from state taxes.
When seeking medical marijuana, it’s a good idea to talk to dispensary staff and ask plenty of questions. These trained professionals can assist you in identifying the best cannabis products for specific health conditions and address any questions or concerns.
California medical users can cultivate cannabis at home. You can grow up to six plants at any one time. You can only grow plants at home, which must be in a lockable space that is not visible from off the property. Some cities also prohibit outdoor growing.
California Medical Marijuana Laws to Know
As a medical marijuana cardholder or user with an ID number and on the registry, knowing what your card/ID number permits is essential. While recreational and medical cannabis are both legal in California, you must be aware of several laws.
You cannot exceed the equivalent possession amounts if you carry both concentrate and flower. This means you cannot have both an ounce of dried cannabis flower and eight grams of concentrate simultaneously.
Some restrictions apply to both recreational and medical marijuana users alike. They include:
- No smoking cannabis where smoking tobacco is not permitted.
- No smoking of cannabis in public unless allowed by public ordinance; doing so could land you a fine, especially if you are near a government building, public park, main street, or anywhere where there might be large congregations of children.
- Using cannabis while driving is illegal. You cannot legally drive when under the influence of cannabis, and any cannabis kept in the car with you must be kept locked away and out of sight. Passengers in the vehicle are not legally allowed to consume cannabis while in a vehicle.
- You cannot ingest cannabis within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, or youth center unless you are in a private residence and any cannabis smell or smoke is not detectable by children.
- Any cannabis must be kept out of reach of children. Treat it as you would any other medication, and lock it away.
- Your second amendment right to bear arms is also affected.
If you’re ready to secure your California MMJ card, connect with one of Leafwell’s virtual physicians today.
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The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card
Telehealth services like Leafwell make it easy to get a medical marijuana card, but meeting with a cannabis doctor is only the first part of the process.
What Is It Like to See a Medical Marijuana Doctor?
What is it like to see a medical marijuana doctor? Learn more about the process, and what to expect during your Leafwell visit, in our guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a California Medical Marijuana certificate and card cost?
An online consultation with a Leafwell healthcare provider for a California medical marijuana certificate costs $49 for new patients and renewals. A Leafwell patient ID card can be added for $10. We also offer certifications for minors with parent/legal guardian consent for $99.
The consultation fee includes a 1-year certification and physical and digital recommendation letters. Patients who add the Leafwell patient ID card will receive the card with their hard-copy recommendation in the mail.
You will only be charged if approved. Plus, now you can sign up with a friend and each save 10% on your consultation with Leafwell.
Applying for the state-issued Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) is optional and can be done through your county’s health department. Each county in California can set its own price for the MMIC, but cannot exceed $100. A 50% reduction per card is available across all participating counties for Medi-Cal-eligible applicants. Patients participating in the County Medical Services Program may have this fee waived entirely.
What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in California?
In California, the following conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana recommendation:
- Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
- Chronic pain
- 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.
What do I need to know about applying for my Medical Cannabis Card in California online?
There are three simple steps to seeing a Leafwell provider in California to obtain your Medical Marijuana Card online:
- Create a Leafwell account by using a valid email address and choosing a password. You’ll then be asked to complete a brief questionnaire of personal and health information and to upload some ID. You will need a smartphone, computer, or tablet with a reliable internet connection and a working camera to be seen by a Leafwell provider.
- Next, you will be taken to the virtual waiting room where you’ll be connected with a Leafwell provider for a video chat. During the video chat, the provider will assess your health situation to determine if you qualify for a medical marijuana certification.
- If you are approved for a medical marijuana certification, you’ll be sent a copy of your recommendation letter via email. This recommendation letter contains your unique patient ID number which is added to a private, physician-run registry that allows you to purchase product from medical marijuana dispensaries in California.
How old do I have to be to apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in California?
You must be at least 18 years of age in order to apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in California without a parent or guardian. Caregivers must also be 18 years of age.
Can I be/have a caregiver for a medical marijuana patient in California?
Yes, medical marijuana patients in California can have a caregiver. You can qualify as a primary caregiver under California marijuana law if you meet the following requirements.
- At least 18 years of age.
- As a primary caregiver, you cannot apply for an MMIC for yourself.
- Provide proof of identity (California driver’s license, California ID card, or other government-issued photo ID card).
- If working for more than one patient, you must reside in the same county.
- If you no longer work for a patient, you must return your MMIC for confidential destruction to the county program that issued the card.
To apply as a caregiver, follow this process:
- You must apply in person with your patient at their county program.
- Your patient will need to check the appropriate box on the top of the application form to include a primary caregiver.
- Primary caregivers cannot apply for an MMIC. The patient under your care is responsible for applying for your MMIC.
- Provide proof of identity which can be a CA driver’s license, CA state ID card, or other government-issued photo ID card.
- Pay the required application fee.
- Have your photo taken at the county office. This photo will appear on your caregiver MMIC.
How do I apply to the state program in California?
Using Your California Medical Marijuana Recommendation
- Download the pdf of your Doctor’s recommendation letter from your Leafwell patient dashboard.
- Save it to your device.
- You can start using this hard electronic copy immediately. You will receive a hard copy of your recommendation letter and, if you chose our $59 plan, a physician-issued Leafwell card in the mail within 14 business days.
- You can then legally purchase medical marijuana from any licensed dispensary. To purchase medical marijuana you will need to bring a hard or electronic copy of your Leafwell doctor’s recommendation letter or your physician-issued Leafwell card, and a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license, with you to the pharmacy.
OPTIONAL: Register for the CA MMIC program at your local county office.
The state registration is completely optional. This allows you to obtain a state-issued card.
- You will not have to pay sales and use tax when making retail medical marijuana purchases.
- A Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) identifies you as protected under Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 94.
- An MMIC helps law enforcement identify you as legally allowed to possess certain amounts of cannabis under specific conditions.
- These vary county to county but the maximum you can be charged is $100.
- A 50% fee reduction is issued per card if you are eligible for Medi-Cal.
- Fees are waived for indigent patients who are eligible for and participate in, the Country Medical Services Program.
- This process requires an in-person application at your county office.
- You will receive an official state-issued card, and any dispensary or law enforcement agency can verify your patient number online immediately.
- It is your option to designate a primary caregiver and apply for their identification card at the time you submit your application.