How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in California

Don Jergler March 14th, 2019

If you live in California, you may wonder if it's worth going through the process of getting cleared to grow, possess, or buy medical marijuana in a state where recreational use is legal. There are at least a couple of good reasons if you have one of the qualifying conditions to become a medical patient in the Golden State.

Medical use of marijuana has been legal since the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. After Proposition 64 in 2016 legalized adult-use marijuana, the legislature passed the passed the Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), creating a combined regulatory system for both medical and recreational marijuana.

While adults can buy marijuana just about anywhere in the state, patients with a doctor's recommendation can grow or possess larger quantities of marijuana than recreational users. MAUCRSA enables adults 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce, or 28.5 grams of flower, up to 8 grams of concentrate and up to six living cannabis plants in their private residence. A qualified patient or primary caregiver may possess up to 8 ounces, or 227 grams, of dried marijuana per qualified patient, and may maintain up to six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants.

A doctor's recommendation is required for those younger than 21 to purchase marijuana, and a county-issued medical marijuana ID card gives buyers a tax exemption on purchases.

 

California's Qualifying Conditions

  • Anorexia

  • Arthritis

  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome

  • Cancer

  • Chronic pain

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Migraine

  • Persistent muscle spasms, including spasms associated with multiple sclerosis

  • Seizures, including seizures associated with epilepsy

  • Severe nausea

  • Any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits the ability of the person to conduct a major life activity as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient's safety or physical or mental health.

Applying for a Medical Card in California

Patients must get a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) through a county program, not through an attending physician or an evaluation center. The county offices and contact information page provides the contact information for the MMIC program in each participating county.

Patients must reside in the county where their application is submitted and fill out an Application/Renewal Form. Counties require a copy of a medical recommendation, proof of identity – that can be a valid California Department of Motor Vehicle driver's license, ID card or other government-issued photo ID card – and proof of residency, such as a rental or mortgage agreement, utility bill, or California DMV motor vehicle registration. Fees required by county programs vary, but cannot exceed $100.

Medi-Cal recipients receive a 50 percent fee reduction, and fees are waived for low-income patients participating in the County Medical Services Program. Counties have 30 days to verify an application and five days to make the MMIC available. Minors can apply as a patient or caregiver under certain conditions, and minors can apply for themselves as qualified patients if they are lawfully emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status.

Appointing a Caregiver

A primary caregiver is defined as someone who is responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a qualified patient. Primary caregivers must be at least 18 years old or be an emancipated minor or the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient. Primary caregivers must apply in person along with the patient, and provide proof of identity. Those with more than one qualified patient must reside in the same county. Patients or primary caregiver may have no more than 8 ounces, or 227 grams, of dried marijuanaper qualified patient and may maintain up to six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants.

Acquiring Your Medicine

Patients can grow their own marijuana, or purchase it from licensed dispensaries. It's illegal to sell without a license. Medical marijuana dispensaries can be found as far north as Eureka to as far south as San Diego.  

Rules for Out-of-State Patients

State law allows for non-resident adults who have a valid driver's license, state ID, or federal ID to purchase marijuana for recreational use. Both resident and non-resident patients need a valid doctor's recommendation from a physician licensed in California to purchase medical cannabis products in California. Neither medical nor adult-use cannabis are allowed to cross state borders, so cannabis cannot go into or be taken out of California.

Top 7 Cannabis Consultants in California

With ever-changing regulations across the industry and recently-updated policies in California, it can be challenging for cannabis newcomers to keep up with licensing requirements and procedures. And if you’re looking to launch a California cannabis retail operation, you’ll also need an understanding of cannabis business best practices and compliance mandates.

If you’re new to the industry — or new to running a cannabis retail outfit — you may want to consider the services of a California cannabis consultant. Depending on your goals and needs, a quality consultant can navigate you through the licensing application process, help you write your dispensary business plan, develop retail space layouts and floor plans, and even guide your cannabis branding and marketing.

We’ve put together a list of the top five cannabis consultants in California to help you on your journey to opening a cannabis dispensary in California.

1. Cannabis Advising Partners

Based in Long Beach, Cannabis Advising Partners assists clients with every stage of cannabis operation startup — licensing and permitting, corporate formation, strategic 280E tax planning, compliance management, staffing and everything in between. With a team consisting of attorneys, accountants, engineers, and executives experienced in liaising between industry and government, Cannabis Advising Partners is equipped to help get your cannabis retail operation off the ground.

2. Canna Advisors

Founded in Colorado by Jay and Diane Czarkowski, Canna Advisors works with cannabis businesses throughout legal states, including California. Their services include license application support and procurement, facility design, business and brand development, operations management, California cannabis compliance, and expansion services when you’re ready to scale.

The Czarkowskis are highly experienced in cannabis, having founded one of the first cultivation and dispensary facilities in Colorado, and their staff has a combined 75 years of cannabis industry experience. Canna Advisors was named the number-one cannabis consulting firm by Cannabis Business Executive in 2017.

3. Be Green Legal

Be Green Legal helps clients through the California cannabis permitting process by assisting with property surveys and site selection, facility floor plans, business and operations plans, environmental permits, and local and state licenses. Be Green’s team includes experienced land use planners, environmental impact compliance experts, and executive strategists, and they have offices in San Diego and Sacramento to assist clients throughout the state.

4. 3C Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting

As the name implies, 3C Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting provides end-to-end consulting for cannabis businesses. Services include evaluating startup financials and investor presentations, cannabis retail licensing support, site selection, facility design and development, compliance and regulatory support, as well as business planning and marketing development. 3C is led by CEO Nic Easley, who boasts more than 15 years of experience in commercial cannabis.

5. Canna Group Inc.

Canna Group Inc. helps its clients with four key elements of California cannabis licensing: site selection, retail floor plan, team development, and operational planning. Once licensed, Canna Group’s staff assists with equipment and vendor selection, compliance management, record keeping and documentation, security needs, and all other state-mandated cannabis retail requirements.

Canna Group is chaired by Grant Rollin, who also serves as CFO. Rollin spent nearly 20 years with Deloitte before going on to found and serve as a C-level executive in several high-value ventures. Canna Group’s CEO Aaron Silverman brings a strong cannabis background to the firm, having managed dispensaries, grown cannabis, and assisted numerous cannabis businesses with development, marketing, and branding.

6. VSE Solutions

Vision, strategy, and execution — three elements that make up the VSE Method, employed by the cannabis business advisors at VSE Solutions. This team of business development and cannabis industry veterans provides a suite of services including brand development, project and event management, marketing plan development and execution, and more. VSE Solutions has current and former clients in every sector of the industry — from cultivators and manufacturers down to retailers and testing labs.

7. SIVA

Glendale-based firm SIVA Enterprises provides full-service cannabis business development, offering application support, strategic partnerships, operations management, brand and product development, and more.


CAP Secures Two Major Cannabis Licensing Wins in San Bernardino, CA

CAP continues its successful navigation of the complex cannabis licensing process to obtain client licenses.

LONG BEACH and SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (PRWEB) March 01, 2019

Cannabis Advising Partners (CAP), a leading cannabis licensing, compliance, and business consultant, proudly announced that it attained two Commercial Cannabis Business (CCB) licenses for its clients at the San Bernardino City Council meeting on February 21. The two approved licenses achieved the highest ratings possible in their distinct categories.

“We’re thrilled for our clients’ successful outcomes in San Bernardino,” said Gasper Guarrasi, founder and chief executive officer at CAP. While explaining that the licensing process is time-consuming and demanding, Guarrasi credited the City of San Bernardino with its “efficient approach to the complex multi-phase process.”

Cannabis licenses in the city are awarded on a neutral point system, organized and run by HdL's cannabis program services, with the highest points holders earning the commercial business licenses. Out of sixteen total licenses awarded, CAP secured two of these positions—the number one and number three points holders overall. The two licenses were also rated number one in their respective categories of retail and microbusiness.

“CAP played an instrumental role in helping us prepare a business plan and application to help position us, our credentials and our story to secure a license,” said one of CAP’s successful clients upon learning of its win. “We look forward to our continued work with CAP on other licenses in other cities and through the compliance process.”

Background on Cannabis Advising Partners (CAP)
Cannabis Advising Partners (CAP) provides full-service licensing, compliance and business services to cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, microbusinesses and other industry-related companies. By utilizing its 20 plus years of experience in environmental compliance and management of more than 1,300 facilities, CAP provides the highest level of strategic advice in the industry. CAP advises and positions cannabis companies to properly navigate the new and complex requirements that surround all aspects of business formation and growth needs, including the submission of an annual license application, sustainability, business plans, legal consultation, investment strategies, social- equity requirements, branding and marketing, and the broad range of intricate compliance standards that are mandated by law. For more information, please visit http://www.cannabisadvising.com

Contact
Lori Rhodes
Cannabis Advising Partners http://www.cannabisadvising.com +1 800-819-0149

Web Link: https://www.prweb.com/releases/cap_secures_two_major_cannabis_licensing_wins_in_san_bernardino_ca/prweb16134775.htm

Hertzberg Introduces Legislation to Establish Framework for Cannabis Banking

http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/news/1252018-hertzberg-introduces-legislation-establish-framework-cannabis-banking

SB 930 is a critical senate bill for California's licensed cannabis industry. Please send a support letter to Senator Hertzberg on your professional letterheads. Please feel free to copy and paste the following text:
 

Date ____

Senator Robert Hertzberg

State Capitol, Room 4038

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Support for SB 930 (Hertzberg) As Amended March 14, 2018

Dear Senator Hertzberg:

[Name of Your Organization] supports Senate Bill 930 to provide banking services to cannabis industry.

SB 930 creates a limited purpose state charter bank license that would be administered and regulated by the Department of Business Oversight. Privately-funded banks that receive this charter would be able to provide limited banking and custodial services to licensed cannabis and cannabis-related businesses. Under SB 930, banks could issue checks to account-holders to only be used for the following purposes:

•Pay state and local taxes and fees,

•Pay vendors from California for goods and services provided to the cannabis business,

• Pay rent, and

•Purchase state and local bonds and other debt instruments.

The use and consumption of medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, and Proposition 64 legalized adult-use cannabis as of January 2018. However, due to cannabis’ federal classification as a Schedule I drug, cannabis-related businesses are not able to deposit income with federally-insured financial institutions. The cannabis industry is expected to generate between $8-20 billion annually. This is a massive industry that we can only expect will continue to grow; yet cultivation, distribution, and retail businesses alike have been forced to operate on a cash-only basis. This is not only impractical from an accounting perspective, but also presents a significant public safety issue.

SB 930 allows cannabis-related businesses to open accounts and deposit income in banks that hold a limited purpose state charter created under this bill

For these reasons, [Name of Your Organization] supports SB 930.

Sincerely,

[Your Name and Title]

Izzy Guarrasi
Opioid Crisis Opening Eyes about Medical Marijuana Use

Prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl have had a deadly effect on Americans, averaging at 91 fatalities a day. This is causing cities to take action and name opioid addiction a crisis. Medicinal marijuana use has had a 25% reduction in opioid overdose and 1,800 fewer painkiller prescriptions every year.

CAP truly cares about growing cannabis access because of the profound positive affect on society-including a therapeutic solution for recovery and rehabilitation. 

Danny Sloat, founder of AlpinStash, has used cannabis to help overcome chronic stomach pain and complications from thoracic outlet syndrome and a brain tumor. He quotes "Too often opiates have been tossed at patients and touted as the only prescription form of pain relief, and yet cannabis is truly a holistic approach to pain management. Cannabis is the complete opposite to opiates in almost every way -- it’s not addictive, has no overdose potential, helps relieve pain, decreases inflammation and inspires movement and activity, despite the stereotype to the opposite. Where opiates subtract from life, cannabis adds."

Full Article Below:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/308174

Izzy Guarrasi
Cannabis Retailer Implements Sustainable Practices

Building off of CAP's 20 years of environmental compliance-L'Eagle, located in Denver, Colorado, brings a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to their cannabis business. Amy Andrle, owner of L'Eagle, explains her methods of sustainable growing, landfill diversion, clean cannabis standards, and how education plays a role in their practices. 

Full Article Below:

https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/how-can-cannabis-retailers-implement-sustainable-practices

Izzy Guarrasi
Growing Cannabis by the Phases of the Moon

Cannabis Advising Partners has 10+ years of state-of-the-art commercial and outdoor cultivation experience to back up this method. The crescent moon, just like in our company logo, represents grown and when the most effective germination occurs. 

Full Article Below:

https://blog.seedsman.com/growing-cannabis-phases-moon/

Izzy Guarrasi