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Why More People Are Getting MMJ Cards Amid the Outbreak

April 22, 2020 09:55 am ET
Why More People Are Getting MMJ Cards Amid the Outbreak

When states legalize medical cannabis, patients with qualifying conditions are eligible for a medical cannabis card. When these same states then legalize recreational cannabis, it is common to see quite a few of these medical cannabis consumers let their medical cards expire and for convenience begin shopping recreationally. While there can be financial savings between lawfully purchased medical cannabis and recreational cannabis, for some the convenience and lack of effort required for recreational purchases remain enticing.

To Get An MMJ Card Or Not?

For assistance in applying for a medical cannabis card, find your state on Veriheal’s list. State-specific criteria and requirements apply for medical card applicants, often including an in-person exam by a qualified doctor and proof of a qualifying condition. Each legal state sets its own renewal terms and requirements, with cards being valid from 1 year to 3 years. Many recreational cannabis customers are actually medical users, whether for personal or professional reasons, not wanting to have their name on a government-held “marijuana registry”. So despite using cannabis for a medical condition, these buyers and their purchases are classified under recreational sales.

Medical Cannabis Is “Essential” During Pandemics

The recent qualification and recognition that access to legal medical cannabis, even in times of “shut-down” as essential, has prompted many once legal medical cardholders to get a renewal. With recreational sales being restricted and even halted in some areas, having a medical cannabis card can increase guaranteed access. In addition to increasing lawful access in states of emergency, some legal states are allowing cannabis delivered right to your front door.

In efforts to decrease exposure for medical patients and curb the spreading of COVID-19, many cannabis legal states have enacted such emergency allowances to support modified cannabis sales operations. According to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), the number of people seeking medical cards has surged in Massachusetts amid the COVID-19 outbreak. With 1,300 new patients registered between March 23 and April 1 — compared to just 500 in the 10 days prior to that. 

Getting An MMJ Card Is Now Easier Than Ever

Legal medical cannabis states continue to advance efficiency in the medical card application processes and many have seized this time of social isolation to further the use of technology. In some states, like Colorado, medical cardholders are currently able to renew their cards from home via telemedicine. In Massachusetts, the CCC recently revised its rules to temporarily allow medical providers to even certify new patients using telehealth — so, appointments can now be conducted over the phone. In Arkansas, not only are they allowing telehealth for new applicants but the expiration dates for current medical cannabis cards have been suspended until further notice.

This pandemic won’t last forever, but some of these changes might. These days of uncertainty have spiked cannabis sales and has demanded quick changes from state regulators to accommodate for the legal cannabis industry. This is an unprecedented time for cannabis consumers and retailers alike and it’s likely we will see long term changes from these temporary orders.

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