If you or a loved one experiences one of several chronic conditions that you’ve been unable to manage with traditional medical care, the state of Maryland permits the use of medical marijuana. As of January 2021, over 120,000 patients have registered with the state to legally use the alternative treatment.
Maryland originally passed legislation legalizing medical marijuana in 2014. The government spent the next four years establishing the policies, regulatory apparatus, and network of providers to safely and effectively administer the application process and program.
Medical marijuana became available to the public in 2018. Both adult and pediatric patients are eligible. You or your family member must register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) to obtain medical cannabis.
The process is closely regulated and administered at the state level. Patients must work with their doctor to obtain medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary.
While individuals with several medical diagnoses are eligible to use marijuana, there are clear documentation and compliance requirements that must be met. It’s also important to remember that marijuana remains prohibited at the federal level.
The first step for obtaining medical marijuana is registering as a patient with MMCC. Individuals over 18 years old must visit the MMCC’s website and complete the application. Minors need at least one parent or legal guardian who’s at least 21 years of age designated on their account.
The guardian must first register as a caregiver with the MCCC and then register the child. Additional forms are necessary and must be notarized to confirm the child’s eligibility.
You will first receive a temporary ID card or caregiver ID card allowing you to immediately obtain marijuana once you’re eligible. A permanent card will come later, depending on the agency’s capacity for processing applications.
Patients or caregivers then need to obtain a certification from a provider registered with the MMCC. You must be registered with the MMCC before a doctor can provide the certificate.
The Maryland State Medical Society maintains a list of providers that are registered with MMCC. Always verify with the provider that they remain enrolled with the MMCC when scheduling an appointment.
The provider must have a relationship with the patient and approve medical cannabis. This means the provider must review medical records, complete an in-person assessment of the patient, maintain standardized records, plan to follow-up with the patient, and revise the treatment plan as needed.
All Maryland providers are eligible to register to prescribe medical marijuana. This does not mean all of them are registered with the MMCC. If your current provider is not registered, you will need to consult with one who is registered with the MMCC.
At your visit with the registered provider, you will provide them with your MMCC-issued patient ID Number so they can write the certification for medical cannabis. This is done through the MMCC’s web-based portal.
Once the certification from the provider is received, you’ve been enrolled in the state’s patient registry, and you have your temporary or permanent patient ID card, you can visit a licensed Maryland dispensary and obtain medical cannabis.
You will need to present your MMCC ID card at the dispensary. They will electronically verify that the certification is on file through the MMCC’s database before filling your prescription. Under Maryland law, medical marijuana patients can only obtain a maximum of 30 days worth of medical cannabis at one time.
Several medical conditions qualify patients for medical marijuana under Maryland law. It’s important to discuss your conditions with your provider because certain chronic ones that don’t respond to medical care qualify an individual for Maryland’s medical marijuana program.
Some such conditions include:
Caregivers are individuals authorized to act on behalf of a specific medical cannabis patient to obtain medical marijuana and transport it for the patient’s use. Individuals are permitted to serve as a caregiver for up to five patients.
Both the qualifying patient and caregiver must be registered with the MMCC. Family members, staff at skilled nursing facilities and friends may all act as caregivers as long as they’re enrolled in the MMCC registry.
Maryland allows caregivers for patients over 18 years old and requires them for patients under 18 years old. Individuals seeking to become a caregiver must be over 21 years old, register with the MMCC, and obtain an ID card for $50.00.
For minor patients, at least one caregiver must register for them. Also, at least one caregiver must be listed on the minor patient’s account at all times.
Possession of medical marijuana is limited to registered patients. An individual can possess, at most, a 30-day supply provided by a licensed Maryland dispensary. The marijuana must be obtained and possessed in Maryland. Edible forms were permitted beginning April 19, 2021.
Home cultivation is not permitted.
You must be evaluated in-person by a provider registered with the MMCC who is authorized to prescribe cannabis. You can obtain a medical cannabis card as long as your diagnosis meets Maryland’s list of qualifying conditions.
Yes–you must be a Maryland resident to apply for a card. Patients must present a valid driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, military ID or U.S. Passport with a Maryland address and a recent photo with a white background.
If the form of ID does not list a home address or has a non-Maryland address, patients must present two documents that are less than 90 days old. The documents must contain both your name and home address to establish residency.
MDCC identification cards currently cost $50. They are valid for three years. Caregivers and patients, even if the patient is a minor, must each obtain their own card. Remember, although the MMJ card is valid for three years, you must obtain a new certification from an authorized provider annually.
Currently, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington D.C. have reciprocity with Maryland, meaning they will accept the MMCC ID card.
There is no federal standard though, so rules concerning purchase limits and taxes will vary from state to state. If you are traveling, it is important to check with the state you will be visiting to verify their medical marijuana laws.
You must also research relevant state laws if you plan to travel across state lines with medical marijuana due to the current federal prohibition.
Medical marijuana is a life-changing medical treatment that is accessible to all Marylanders with a qualifying medical condition. Many providers are already registered with the MMCC and dispensaries are located throughout the state.
You should visit the MMCC website so you can keep up with relevant state legislation and new policies.