Here is the final installment of the information I think we all need readily available. Also see the MMJ program on the www.ca.gov website.
Medical Marijuana Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are Proposition 215 (Prop 215), the Compassionate Use
Act of 1996, and Senate Bill (SB) 420?
A: Prop 215 is another term for the Compassionate Use Act
of 1996. Prop 215 was the first statewide medical
marijuana measure voted into law in the United States.
Prop 215 provides protections to seriously ill persons
who have their doctorâ€™s recommendation to use marijuana
for medical purposes. Prop 215 also provides
protections to the physicians and primary caregivers who
assist these seriously ill persons, who are known as
â€œqualified patientsâ€ under SB 420 (Chapter 875, Statutes
of 2003). SB 420 was enacted into the Health and Safety
Code of California (Sections 11362.7 through 11362.83)
to address problems with Prop 215. SB 420 requires the
California Department of Health Services to create the
Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). The state MMP is
responsible for developing and maintaining an online
registry and verification system for Medical Marijuana
Identification Cards or â€œMMICs.â€ MMICs are available to
qualified patients and their primary caregivers. The
intent of SB 420 is to help law enforcement and
qualified patients by creating a form of identification
for qualified patients that is official and uniform
throughout the State. The online registry allows law
enforcement to verify that a MMIC is valid. For more
information see the MMPâ€™s home page.
Q: What is the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) and what does it do?
A: The California Department of Health Services (CDHS)
manages the Stateâ€™s MMP as authorized by SB 420.
Several counties also use the term â€œMMPâ€ for their
programs. The MMP developed the â€œMedical Marijuana
Identification Cardâ€ or â€œMMICâ€ and operates the internet
system to verify these MMICs.
Q: What is a Medical Marijuana Identification Card
(MMIC) and how can it help me?
A: The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person
protected under the provisions of Prop 215 and SB 420.
It is used to help law enforcement identify the
cardholder as being able to legally possess certain
amounts of medical marijuana under specific conditions.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for a MMIC?
A: You will need to discuss this with your attending
physician. In order to qualify for the protections of
Prop 215 and SB 420, you will need to be diagnosed with
a serious medical condition. The diagnosis and your
physicianâ€™s recommendation that the use of medical
marijuana is appropriate for you must be documented in
your medical records.
Q: What serious medical condition(s) do I need to have
to qualify for a MMIC?
A: A serious medical condition, as defined by SB 420,
is any of the following: AIDS; anorexia; arthritis;
cachexia (wasting syndrome); cancer; chronic pain;
glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms (i.e.,
spasms associated with multiple sclerosis); seizures
(i.e., epileptic seizures); severe nausea; any other
chronic or persistent medical symptom that either
substantially limits a personâ€™s ability to conduct one
or more of major life activities as defined in the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not
alleviated, may cause serious harm to the personâ€™s
safety, physical, or mental health.
Q: When and where can I apply for a MMIC?
A: The state MMP will begin with its pilot program in
May of 2005, and will begin statewide implementation by
late summer of 2005. Four counties are participating in
the pilot phase. To learn if your county has started
accepting applications, view the list of county programs
web page. Hours of operation, fees, and application
locations will vary. You may need to contact your
countyâ€™s program for more information.
Q: Are medical marijuana patients and their primary
caregivers required to enroll in the MMP?
A: No. Participation in the MMP is voluntary.
Q: I am a qualified patient. How do I apply for a
A: In order to see if your county is accepting
applications you will need to view the list of county
programs. When your county begins accepting
applications for MMICs, you will need to fill out an
Application/Renewal Form. You must reside in the
California county where the application is submitted.
You will need to provide current documentation with your
application as follows:
Â· A copy of your medical records that documents
the use of medical marijuana is appropriate for you.
Â· Proof of identity. This can be a California
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driverâ€™s license or
identification (ID) card or other government-issued
photo ID card.
Â· Proof of residency which can be:
o Rent or mortgage receipt.
o Utility bill.
o California DMV motor vehicle registration.
You must apply in person at your countyâ€™s program.
There you will be asked to:
Â· Pay the fee required by your county program.
Medi-Cal beneficiaries will receive a 50 percent
reduction in the application fee.
Â· Have your photo taken at the countyâ€™s program
office. This photo will appear on your MMIC.
Q: Is it necessary to include copies of my medical
records with my application?
A: Yes. To simplify this requirement, the state MMP
offers a form to serve this purpose. It is the Written
Documentation of Patients Medical Records form. It is
simply a form your physician can use to state in writing
that you have a serious medical condition and that the
use of medical marijuana is appropriate. The original
is submitted with your application and a copy must be
kept in your medical records at your physicianâ€™s office.
Q: How much does it cost to apply for a card?
A: Fees vary by county. You will need to contact your
countyâ€™s program to find out the fee your county charges
for a MMIC application. Also, if you request the 50
percent Medi-Cal reduction, you will need to provide
proof of participation in the Medi-Cal Program. Your
countyâ€™s program will provide you with information on
what type of proof you need to qualify for the
Q: What is a primary caregiver?
A: A primary caregiver is a person who is consistently
responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a
qualified patient. A primary caregiver must be at least
18 years of age, unless the primary caregiver is an
emancipated minor or the parent of a minor child who is
a qualified patient. A primary caregiver can also be an
owner, operator, or up to three employees of a clinic,
facility, hospice, or home health agency. For more
information please visit the Responsibilities:
Applicant, Primary Caregiver, and Physician web page.
Q: I am a primary caregiver for a qualified patient.
How do I apply for a MMIC?
A: As a primary caregiver you cannot apply for a MMIC.
The patient you care for is responsible for applying for
your MMIC. Your patient will need to fill out an
Application/Renewal Form and check the appropriate box
on the top of page one to include primary caregiver.
You do not need to reside in the California county where
the application is submitted, but you must provide
information on your residence. If you are the primary
caregiver for more than one qualified patient you must
reside in the same county as them. You will need to
provide proof of identity which can be a California DMV
driverâ€™s license or California ID card or other
government-issued photo ID card. You must apply in
person at your countyâ€™s program. There you will be
Â· Pay the fee required by your county program.
Medi-Cal beneficiaries and their primary caregivers will
receive a 50 percent reduction to the application fee.
Â· Have your photo taken at the county office.
This photo will appear on your MMIC.
Q: How long will it take to get my MMIC?
A: Once you submit your completed and signed
application form with the required documents (proof of
residency, medical documentation, etc.) to your countyâ€™s
program, the county program has 30 days to approve or
deny your application. Once the application is
approved, the county program has five days to make the
MMIC available to you. It can take 35 days to receive
your MMIC if the application is complete and the county
program finds no reason to deny your application. If
any information or documents are missing, this may delay
processing your application. If this is the case, your
countyâ€™s program will contact you within 30 days from
the day you submit your application. If you do not
receive your MMIC in 35 days, contact your countyâ€™s
Q: How long is a MMIC valid?
A: Generally, one year.
Q: How do I renew my MMIC?
A: Renewing a MMIC requires the same process as when
you originally applied. This includes verifying your
information and giving you a new MMIC and new number.
If your medical documentation is still valid, you may
use this for your renewal. It may not be necessary for
you to obtain new medical documentation. Your countyâ€™s
program will verify any information they feel is
necessary. You will need to contact their office for
Q: Is my MMIC valid outside of California?
Q: Is my MMIC valid in other California counties?
A: Yes. This is a statewide identification card and
Q: Do I need to let my countyâ€™s program know when I
change my attending physician or primary caregiver?
A: Yes. You need to contact them within seven days.
Failure to do so may result in the invalidation of your
Q: Can the state MMP refer me to a doctor?
A: No. The MMP does not maintain lists of physicians
nor is it a referral service.
Q: What happens to my application and other private
health information after I give it to my countyâ€™s MMP?
A: Your application will be kept confidential and
secure. The only release of your application will be
with your written permission. This includes appeals of
denied applications to the state MMP. (The Appeals Form
contains a declaration and signature block regarding
Q: I am a legal representative for a qualified patient
who cannot make their own medical decisions. Can I
apply for them?
A: Yes. A conservator with authority to make medical
decisions, surrogate decision maker authorized under an
advanced health care directive, an attorney-in-fact
under durable power of attorney for healthcare, or any
other individual authorized by statutory or decisional
law to make medical decisions for the qualified patient
may apply for that patient.
Q: Why do I need to apply for my MMIC in person?
A: You will need to have your photo taken which will
appear on the MMIC. Also, certain verifications will
need to be completed in person.
Q: I am a caregiver for a bedridden qualified patient.
What can I do to help my patient apply for a MMIC?
A: Check with your countyâ€™s program for information.
Q: Why does my primary caregiver need to come to my
countyâ€™s program office with me to apply for our cards?
A: Only a patient can apply for either type of card,
and both the patient and the primary caregiver must
provide certain personal information to the county
program. You both need to apply in person at the county
program office because you will both be photographed for
Q: My primary caregiver lives in a different county
than I do. Which county program do we apply in?
A: The county the patient resides in.
Q: Can a minor apply for a MMIC?
A: Yes. A minor can apply as a patient or caregiver
under certain conditions. Minors may apply for
themselves as qualified patients if they are lawfully
emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status.
If the minor has not declared self-sufficient status or
is not emancipated, the countyâ€™s program is required to
contact the minorâ€™s parent, legal guardian, or person
with legal authority to make medical decisions for the
minor. This is to verify information on the
Application/Renewal Form. An emancipated minor or the
minor's parent of a qualified patient may apply as a
primary caregiver. If a minor declares status as a
self-sufficient minor or is an emancipated minor, his or
her county program may require additional documentation.
Contact your countyâ€™s program for more information on
additional required documentation.
Q: What can be proof of identity for a minor?
A: Minors may use government-issued photo
identification, such as a California driverâ€™s license or
a California ID card. A certified copy of a birth
certificate can be sufficient proof of identity for a
Q: My application for a MMIC was denied. How can I
appeal this decision?
A: Please see the Appeals web page for more information
on appealing a county's decision to deny your
Q: What information will appear on the MMIC?
Â· A unique user identification number of the
Â· Date of expiration of the identification card
Â· Name and telephone number of the county program
that has approved the application
Â· Internet address used to verify the validity of
Â· Photo identification of the cardholder
Â· â€œPatientâ€ or â€œPrimary Caregiverâ€ to specify the
Q: How do I replace my MMIC if it is lost, stolen, or
A: Please contact your countyâ€™s program for more
details and fees.
Q: How much marijuana can I have in my possession?
A: For information on possession limits please visit
the Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77 or contact
your local law enforcement authority.
Q: Where can I get the seeds or plants to start growing
marijuana for my medical use? How can I get related
A: The MMP is not authorized to provide information on
acquiring marijuana or other related products.