Medical Marijuana Card in California (The New Regulations)

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in California (or the repeal of prohibition as we like to phrase it) the state is coming down hard on regulating medical marijuana.

Before all the new regulations, you could get a prescription for medical marijuana as easily as a prescription for any other medication. Easier even because there were places that you could get a card online.

The new legislation has almost entirely renovated the system to make it more difficult for patients to receive the treatment they need.

The following pieces of legislation passed to make life more difficult:

  • Proposition 64
  • Proposition 215
  • SB 420

New Changes with the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program

The most significant change is that the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP) is now under the control of the California Department of Public Health. The MMICP now provides a state-authorized registry database verifying qualifying patients (according to state qualifications) along with primary caregivers.

The registry allows both law enforcement agencies and dispensaries to verify that you are allowed to use medical marijuana within specific legal parameters for:

  • Obtaining and applying for a medical marijuana card
  • Amount of medical marijuana you can possess
  • Amount of medical marijuana plants you can maintain
  • Transporting of medical marijuana
  • Use of medical marijuana

The changes bring the focus to patient privacy and bring the previous medical marijuana legislation in line with HIPAA regulations about the confidentiality of medical records.

What Information is on the Medical Marijuana Identification Card?

The new California medical marijuana cards will have the following information:

  • Your MMICP identification number
  • Expiration date
  • Name and telephone contact information for the county program
  • Internet address to verify the validity of the MMIC
  • Your photograph
  • Identification as either “Patient” or “Primary Caregiver”

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Identification Card in California

The first step is to make an appointment with your doctor. The new legislation has specified which medical conditions qualify for a medical marijuana card. Your physician must state in your medical records that they approve the use of medical marijuana for a covered medical condition.

Important Note! You must get your own copy of your doctor’s medical report where they approve and authorize the use of medical marijuana.

Next, you must apply for the MMCIP through your local county public health department. You can no longer get access to the MMICP through your doctor. You also have to apply in person.

When you go to your county’s public health department, they need a completed application as well as the following papers:

  • medical marijuana identification card program regulationsA copy of your doctor’s medical recommendation for medical marijuana
  • Proof of identity (any of the following)
    • California driver’s license
    • California state identification card (issued through DMV)
    • Government issued ID such as a passport
  • Proof of Residency (any of the following)
    • Rental agreement
    • Mortgage agreement
    • Utility bill
    • California DMV Motor Vehicle Registration

After you provide all the paperwork, they will take your photo which will appear on your MMIC. You must have your card in hand before you can purchase, possess, or grow medical marijuana.

What Conditions Are Eligible for the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program?

Under SB 420, there are only certain conditions that qualify for the MMICP. These include:

  • AIDS
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraines
  • Persistent muscle spasms (for example those associated with Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Any other chronic or persistent medical condition which limits your ability to perform one or more of the major daily function activities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), or which may cause serious harm to an individual’s physical or mental health, or safety.

What Does the Medical Marijuana Card Cost?

The new legislation limits what a MMIC can cost. However, your county program determines the fee. It may vary between counties. A county program cannot charge more than $100 for either an application or a card renewal.

Medi-Cal beneficiaries receive a 50% reduction on applications. The discount cannot exceed $50.

Finally, fees are waived for qualified patients participating in the County Medical Services Program.

What are the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program possession limits?

If you get a MMIC, then you cannot have more than 8 ounces of flower. The same rule applies for primary caregivers.

The regulations limit plants to 6 mature plants or 12 immature plants.

How long is the Medical Marijuana Identification Card valid?

The card is valid for one year from the date of issue for patients. The primary caregiver’s card will expire when the patient’s card expires, even if its been less than 12 months.

After the 12 month period, you’ll have to renew the card for both ongoing medication and possession. The renewal process is the same as the application process for first-time cardholders.

Your county reserves the right to request new medical documentation.

What are the confidentiality rules for the Medical Marijuana Identification Card in California?

Aside from a giant registry database, California seems to have been relatively security conscious when designing the new system. It helps that the MMICP must comply with all the Requirements of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) legislation.

medical marijuana identification card program confidentiality

The MMICP takes strong measures protecting your personal information. Your identifying information is not in the database.

Personal information such as your name, address, and social security number are not in the system. The database only specifies the unique user ID number of your MMICP card and whether or not the card is valid.

How do primary caregivers obtain a California Medical Marijuana Card?

The primary caregiver cannot apply for their own card. They must apply through the patient for whom they are providing care. There is a checkbox on the application form indicating the application for a patient or primary caregiver.

One important stipulation is that the primary caregiver must reside in the come county if they have more than one qualified patient.

Primary caregivers will also need valid identification such as a California DMV driver’s license, California ID card, or government issued photo ID.

Can a minor apply for a California Medical Marijuana Card?

A minor (person under age 18) can apply for a MMICP. However, there are a few stipulations.

If you are lawfully emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status, then the county might require additional documentation if these apply to you.

If you are neither lawfully emancipated nor have declared self-sufficiency status, then the county requires permission from one of the following:

  • Parents(s)
  • Legal guardian
  • Authorized legal representative

You will also need to meet all of the other requirements for the MMICP to get a card.

More Info, Right from the State

California has provided the following resources to do more research about the new medical marijuana regulations.

California Department of Cannabis
California – Get a Medical Marijuana Card
California Laws and Regulations

How about our friends to the North? Not Oregon, but further north, like Canada. Canada has legalized Cannabis across the entire country. If you happen to live in Canada and need help with life insurance for cannabis, contact our friends at Policy Architects.

How to Get Life Insurance with a California Medical Marijuana Card

The trick to getting affordable life insurance with a medical marijuana card is finding the right insurance company. There are around a dozen who are 420 friendly. Out of these 12 cannabis-friendly life insurance companies you then have to find the one that has the best underwriting guidelines for the medical reason you have a MMIC.

At Marcan Insurance, we specialize in connecting people with the life insurance company who will offer them the best rates. It’s hard to know which insurance companies care about cannabis use and which don’t. So we comb through and sort out the useless ones for you.

After all, there’s no sense in finding the right company only to discover they automatically decline people who smoke marijuana. It’s a waste of your time and effort.

Get Marijuana Delivered to Your Door in California

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How Do Life Insurance Companies Rates Medical Marijuana Patients?

Insurance companies treat people differently depending on whether they smoke recreationally or to treat a medical condition. With recreational smokers, they want to know the frequency with which someone smokes. That will affect their health class rating.

With medical marijuana, the insurance companies are less interested in the treatment and more focused on the condition for which it’s prescribed.

Not every medical condition is rated the same. If the medical condition is minor and has no impact on your overall life expectancy and quality of life, then the insurance company will probably offer a good to decent rating.

how to get life insurance with a medical marijuana card

Your diagnosis determines your rates for life insurance. Medical marijuana has little to do with how the insurance company looks at you.

There are upwards of 16 different health ratings, depending on the company. A change between health classes usually means a 25% difference in premiums. These break down into rated and non-rated.

(For example, if you look at the Instant Quotes Tool to the left or top if you’re on mobile, you’ll see categories like Preferred and Standard under the health class section.)

Rated categories are typically reserved for medical issues. You may see something like Table A or Table D. Those are how serious the insurance company considers a set of or specific medical condition.

Smoking gets complicated with cannabis. Some companies will always assign smoker rates. Others will offer non-smoker ratings depending on how much you smoke. With all the product advancement like edibles and topicals, insurance companies don’t have standardized rules for those yet.

If you don’t smoke your cannabis, talk to your insurance agent about getting a pre-screen from a few different underwriters.

How Underwriters Look at Medical Conditions Treated with Medical Marijuana

Before you start looking at quotes for life insurance rates, it’s smart to gather the information the life insurance company will want to look at. The basic information an underwriter will need is the following:

  • Age
  • Biological Sex
  • Height/weight ratio
  • Family medical history
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol level
  • Driving record
  • Alcohol/drug use

Each company employs a small army of mathematicians called actuaries. These people pour through data and statistical models to determine what the company should charge for each scenario.

When it comes to medical marijuana, prepare the following information for your insurance agent so they can give you an accurate quote. The last thing anybody wants is to go through the underwriting process and have a policy come out way more expensive than anticipated.

  • Date of diagnosis
  • Prognosis of the condition
  • How the condition impacts your daily life
  • Treatments (dosage/regularity)
  • How well the condition is under control
  • Are you following the treatment regimen prescribed by your doctor?

If you have been diagnosed within the past year, most insurance companies will postpone your application. This means that they want to see how you respond to treatment and will reconsider you in 6 to 12 months. It’s different than a decline.

How Marcan Insurance Can Help

We are a group of independent agents specializing in helping people who smoke recreationally and for medical reasons find affordable life insurance. With us, your privacy is paramount.

Because we are independent agents, we are not bound to any one company. We work with over 70 of top-rated life insurance companies in the country. So we can find the company that will offer you the best deal.

If you have any questions we didn’t answer, then give us a call at (888) 987-8447 today. There is never any obligation to buy, and we are always happy to help!