About Cannabis in California
California is the quintessential region for medicinal cannabis as it was the first state to pass a license as far back as 1996. The West Coast region started a trend that remains to this day, with 33 states now having a medicinal cannabis license program for qualifying conditions. Twenty-four years after its landmark legislation, California permitted recreational use, making it possible for all residents of 21 years of age or older to benefit from the plant.
Most recently, California state law defended the right to permit home-delivery cannabis sales statewide, according to the Star Tribune. Also, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order to extend medical cannabis licenses from March 4, 2020, until September 15, 2020, due to COVID-19. It is evident that California has no qualms about making cannabis available to residents who require it medicinally or choose to use it recreationally. Because of the state’s longtime open policy, obtaining a medical cannabis card in the state is relatively simple, with Veriheal making it that much easier.
While the state allows for both medicinal and recreational use, patients with a medical cannabis card can possess larger amounts of the plant than those who do not and are exempt from cannabis tax. These extra benefits as a medical cannabis card holder make all the difference for patients who already suffer from a condition that prompts them to use the plant medicinally rather than recreationally.
Finally, on January 1, 2021, two new senate bills clarified the tax laws regarding the cannabis industry
- Senate Bill 34 allows marijuana retailers licensed to sell in California to donate their cannabis to low-income patients and exempts these products from state taxes.
- Assembly Bill 37 allows cannabis business owners to deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses on their California income tax return. The bill is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2025.
Caregivers in California
While California’s open policy allows all residents 21 and over to purchase cannabis legally, specific medical prescriptions may only be available to patients with qualifying conditions. Having a medical cannabis license due to a disorder also gives further protection against arrest and privacy.
Based on California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, disorders and conditions that make a resident eligible for the program include:
The cost for the card in most counties statewide is $100 a year; however, in Sacramento, patients with proof of Medi-Cal benefits only pay $50 a year.
Who Can Qualify as a Primary Caregiver?
Caregivers must also apply for a medical cannabis license like the patients they monitor. To be eligible for caregiver status, a person must have proof of California residence with a state license or identification card, live in the same county as the patient, and agree to be photographed.
California defines precisely what a caregiver must be to the patient to be considered for a card. Based on the law, a caregiver in the state must be a parent or guardian if the patient is under 18, consistently responsible for the patient’s well-being, help assist the patient with administration if necessary, and must not be the primary care physician of the patient.
Possession and Cultivation Limits in California
Branded perfectly, SB 420 and SB 94 revised the original Compassionate Use Act passed in 1996, amending some of the provisions. Based on the bill, both patients and caregivers are legally allowed to grow or possess up to 12 immature or 6 adult cannabis plants at time. Under no circumstance is a patient or caregiver allowed to sell the cannabis they cultivated or possess since a license to do so is necessary.
Every California county has their own local codes and zoning laws regarding the amount of cannabis patients in their district can cultivate or possess, which is important information for patients to seek out before growing or purchasing the plant. Additionally, patients and caregivers have the right to travel with a certain amount of cannabis, and if confiscated upon a vehicle stop or arrest, the patient or caregiver is legally entitled to have the property returned. Some California cities and counties prohibit cannabis sales and cultivation, which is why it is important to know the local ordinances in which a patient or caregiver resides.
Adults may also be involved in the home cultivation program in California. In their cars, legal customers can carry marijuana, but it must be in a closed container or in the trunk. Marijuana plants must be kept in a closed room which is not publicly noticeable.
Steps to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California
You’ll have to start with filling out the application form for the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) Program. Then to complete your application you must include copies of the following items:
- You must be 18 years old and provide proof of identity. A valid government-issued state ID or driver’s license. You can also use a U.S. Passport or Veteran’s Administration cards.
- Next, you’ll need to provide proof of residency in California. This can be a vehicle registration, utility bill or rental/mortgage receipt. The proof should show your name and current California address.
- You need to be diagnosed with a qualifying condition from the list above.
- You must provide a written medical marijuana recommendation from your doctor that medical cannabis use is necessary for one or more serious medical conditions. (Veriheal can help with this)
- Non-refundable application fee of $100 (or $50 for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.) Acceptable forms of payment are cash, credit, debit, cashier’s checks, money orders–no personal checks are accepted.
Reciprocity for Out of State Residents
Marijuana is legal for all residents and visitors to California because of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. However, there are benefits for non-residents to become medical marijuana patients and get their med card within the state.
By being part of the medical marijuana program out of state patients can avoid a 15% sales tax that recreational cannabis users must pay when they purchase marijuana. Non-residents in the state of California need to get both a medical marijuana ID card and a doctor’s recommendation to buy medical cannabis.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s simple. Use the form at the top of this page to begin the process, and Veriheal will begin setting you up with a physician who can evaluate your health and confirm your condition.
The cost for the medical marijuana appointment with Veriheal is $199, with a full guarantee that if not approved, you’ll get your money back. As for the state of California, they charge $100 for the card application fee, which is not necessarily guaranteed.
No, the state does not offer any physician referrals, which is why Veriheal has set up shop in California to assist residents who wish to apply for a medical marijuana card.
Yes, chronic pain is a qualifying condition for the medical use of cannabis in CA.
Patients that live out-of-state should make an appointment to talk with and be evaluated by a licensed physician in the state of California, just like a typical state resident would. You can use your out of state ID, passport, or other photo ID with proof of residency. You can use a bank statement, utility bill, or rental agreement as proof of residency. However, you must be in the state at the time of the consultation.
That depends on the state you are visiting, which is why it is important to contact the region in order to find out the medical cannabis rules and regulations.
Patients with recommendations from a doctor may possess greater amounts of marijuana than recreational users, and a medical marijuana ID card issued by the county exempts you from sales tax on purchases of marijuana.