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How to get a medical card in California.

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

Trusted by 300k+ patients

Aaron Belcher

Reno, NV

Talk about EASY!! The whole process took 15 minutes, including the call with the Doctor!!! Amazing!

Aubrey Rhodes

New Haven, CT

Shocked how easy! Kind and understanding, definitely the best way to get your med card.

Danielle Rossi

Cambridge, MA

Incredibly calm and easy experience, will only use Leafwell moving forward and would recommend to anyone!

Dave Sampson

Billings, MT

Fast, easy application process.

Benefits of Getting a California Medical Card

You don’t have to have an MMJ card to legally buy cannabis in California, but there are multiple reasons to become a cardholder.

Save money
Medical cannabis patients in California  pay less tax compared to non-medical adult users. Medical cannabis patients pay only the excise tax and, if applicable a local cannabis business tax, which at the time of writing means a total tax rate of between 15% and 19.75% on medical cannabis.

Recreational customers pay retail sales tax as well as excise tax, with a tax range of between 27.5% and 40.75%, depending on municipality. Medical marijuana patients can save up to 25% on tax when purchasing cannabis!

You must have a “state-issued” MMIC card to be eligible for tax benefits (state sales tax exemption only). Medical patients and MMIC holders will still need to pay the excise tax (15%) and local cannabis business tax, if applicable. Local cannabis business taxes can range between 5-15%, but some dispensaries will cover this tax for customers/patients.

Easier Access
Medical cannabis patients also have access to a greater number of products and dispensaries. Only 161 of California’s 482 municipalities allow recreational dispensaries.

Reciprocity
Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, US Virgin Islands, Utah and Washington DC recognize a valid, state-issued medical card identity card (MMIC) from California.

About Medical Marijuana in California

California became the first state to vote for cannabis legalization back in 1972. The Proposition failed, but the state went on to become the first in the country to legalize medical marijuana in the mid-1990s.

The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 exempts patients and defines caregivers who possess or cultivate cannabis for medical treatment and who have a physician’s recommendation from punishment.

The state legalized recreational marijuana use in 2018, allowing anyone 21 or older to possess 1 ounce or less of cannabis (max. 8 g of concentrates). However, most Californians would benefit from obtaining a medical marijuana card instead of opting for recreational use.


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How to qualify

To apply for a Medical Marijuana Card or recommendation in California, you must be a legal state resident 18 or older.

  1. Caregivers must also be 18.

    Primary caregivers can apply if:
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    The person you care for is legally entitled to use medical marijuana.

    You meet the legal definition of a primary caregiver under the California Compassionate Use Act (CUA).


Medical Conditions

In California, the following conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana recommendation:

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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Possession and Growing

Patients can carry up to 8oz of flower or concentrate. Recreational users can only have up to 1oz of flower and 8 g of concentrate.

Do not take your cannabis over state lines. Keep your cannabis in California. If you are moving around the state of California with cannabis, keep it to reasonable amounts (e.g., 1 ounce/28.5 grams or less of dried flower or 8 g of hashish/concentrate, as per recreational laws), and preferably locked away and safely kept.

If you are carrying both concentrate and flower, you cannot go over the equivalent possession amounts. This means you cannot carry both an ounce of dried cannabis flower and 8 g of concentrate at the same time. This applies to recreational cannabis users, and medical patients may have some leeway, but we don’t recommend tempting fate wherever possible.

Yes, you can cultivate cannabis at home. You can grow up to six plants at any one time. You can only grow plants at home and this must be in a lockable space that is not visible from off the property. Some cities also prohibit outdoor growing.


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Caregivers

Medical Marijuana patients in California can have a caregiver.

You qualify as a primary caregiver under California marijuana law if:

  1. 01

    You have been designated for that purpose by a legal medical marijuana user

  2. 02

    You are consistently responsible for that person’s housing, health, and/or safety

  3. 03

    The care you provide is independent of assistance you give the person in taking medical marijuana

  4. 04

    You began taking care of the person at or before the time you assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana

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Reciprocity

California doesn’t recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards, but visitors to California can apply for a California medical marijuana identification card (MMIC). Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington D.C. recognize in-date out-of-state medical marijuana cards. A state-issued California MMIC (not physician-issued) is required for reciprocity with other states.

This reciprocity is one key benefit for medical marijuana users. Unlike recreational cannabis users, medical marijuana users with a medical marijuana card can travel to the states listed above and purchase the medical marijuana they require while they are out of state.

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Frequently asked questions in California

How much does a California Medical Marijuana certificate and card cost?

Medical Marijuana recommendation letter = $49 at Leafwell

Medical Marijuana recommendation letter and Leafwell card = $59 at Leafwell

It is not mandatory to get a California Medical Marijuana Identification Card. However, you can purchase one if you wish.

Each county in California can set its own price for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) but cannot exceed $100. A 50% reduction per card is available across all counties for Medi-Cal eligible applicants. Patients participating in the County Medical Services Program may have this fee waived entirely.

Plus, now you can sign up with a friend and each save 10% on your consultation with Leafwell.

What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in California?

In California, the following conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana recommendation:

  • AIDS/HIV
  • 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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 qualify as a primary caregiver under California marijuana law if:

  • You have been designated for that purpose by a legal medical marijuana user
  • You are consistently responsible for that person’s housing, health, and/or safety
  • The care you provide is independent of assistance you give the person in taking medical marijuana
  • You began taking care of the person at or before the time you assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana.
  • Primary caregivers are covered under the California Compassionate Use Act ("CUA")

To apply as a caregiver, follow this process:

  1. Completed an MMIC application
  2. Provide a copy of medical records, including the patient’s physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana
  3. Pay MMIC application fee

In order to receive a medical marijuana identification card (MMIC), patients and caregivers must apply in person through their appointed county office and provide the following documents:

  1. Photo identification for both parties
  2. Proof of residence, such as a utility bill, for both parties
How do I apply to the state program in California?

Using Your California Medical Marijuana Recommendation

  1. Download the pdf of your Doctor’s recommendation letter from your Leafwell patient dashboard.
  2. Save it to your cell phone.
  3. You can start using this hard electronic copy immediately.  You will receive a hard copy of your recommendation letter and, if you selected our $59 plan, a ‘PHYSICIAN ISSUED’ Leafwell card in the mail within 7-10 business days.
  4. 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.

Why register?

  • You will not have to pay sales and use tax when making retail medical marijuana purchases.
  • An Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) identifies you as protected under Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 94.
  • An MMIC helps law enforcement identify you as being legally allowed to possess certain amounts of cannabis under specific conditions.

Registration Fees

  • 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.

Registration Process

  1. This process requires an in person application at your county office.
  2. You will receive an official “State Issued” card, and any dispensary or law enforcement agency can verify your patient number online immediately.
  3. It is your option to designate a primary caregiver and apply for their identification card at the time you submit your application.