Occasionally, readers send us their questions about cannabis. This week, we tackled one about medical marijuana cards.
Dear Legalization Nation,
If I have a county-issued medical cannabis ID card, is it legal for a dispensary to insist that I give them a copy of my doctor’s recommendation letter? The manager of a dispensary said that it is a legal requirement for them to have a copy of my recommendation letter. I went online to try to find where it is written. Alas, I couldn’t find any such thing. What I did find is an either/or situation where the law says that one or the other is required.
You’re totally correct — a valid state medical marijuana ID card is the gold standard for admittance into a medical club. A doctor’s recommendation is far more common and usually sufficient. But everyone is confused because it’s confusing, especially since commercial recreational sales began on Jan. 1.
Most people used to get a doctor’s “recommendation” (not a prescription) to buy marijuana. These cards usually expired in one year and cost anywhere from $30 to $100. It often came on a sheet of paper with an embossed seal, as well as on a pocket-sized card. This “recommendation,” plus a driver’s license, was required to walk into a dispensary.
What almost no one had, or has, is the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Medical Marijuana Identification Card. Only 6,172 people — in a state of 38 million — got the more formal state ID card in 2017. That’s because it isn’t mandatory, and it’s a total pain to get.
To get the state’s Medical Marijuana Identification Card, you need to: 1)