As of May 2018, the legalization of medical marijuana has extended to 29 states and the District of Columbia. Both medical marijuana and medical marijuana cards are granted to patients who suffer from various types of illness, diseases, debilitating conditions or chronic pain/symptoms that are not eased by high-dosage opiates.

Medical marijuana is both a natural and an alternative medicine provided to patients in order to improve their quality of life and rid them of the debilitating effects of their diagnosed conditions.

At the end of 2017, medical marijuana was legal in the following states plus Washington, D.C.:

Alaska
Alaska Marijuana Red Card for the use of medical cannabis has been legal since 1998. Find local marijuana Doctors, cannabis card laws and red card applications for Alaska
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Arizona
Arizona Marijuana Red Card laws, limits and regulations regarding caregivers, patients and marijuana dispensaries explained in detail here. Arizona voted yes on the use of medical marijuana in
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California
California Medical Marijuana Card allows medical marijuana patients the use of cannabis to treat symptoms such as AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle
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medical cannabis red card mmj card
Colorado Marijuana Red Card for medical cannabis patients have been legal since 2000. Colorado is now the nations leader in the medical marijuana industry and cannabis growing. There
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DC
DC Medical Marijuana Card for cannabis patients to grow marijuana and use medical marijuana legally as a medicine. Washington DC approved the use of DC medical marijuana card
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Hawaii
Hawaii Marijuana Card for medical marijuana use has been allowed since 2000 for patients with Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS; A chronic or debilitating disease or medical
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Maine
Maine Marijuana Card law has allowed prescribing, and limited possession, of medical marijuana since 1999 but the law lacked any distribution laws and questions arose of noncompliance with
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Michigan
Michigan Marijuana Card for medical cannabis use and marijuana cultivation has been legal since 2008, allowing marijuana patients the ability to grow their own cannabis plants and use
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Montana
Montana Marijuana Card for Cannabis patients medical marijuana use and cannabis cultivation to treat medical conditions such as Cancer, glaucoma, or positive status for HIV/AIDS, or the treatment
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Nevada
Nevada Marijuana Card for Cannabis patients medical marijuana use and cannabis cultivation to treat medical conditions such as AIDS; cancer; glaucoma; and any medical condition or treatment to
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New Jersey
New Jersey Marijuana Card laws for medical cannabis use are some of the strictest in the U.S.. Marijuana patients are prescribed their marijuana card by a licensed physician
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New Mexico
Laws, applications and Limits for New Mexico Marijuana Card patients are very lenient and easy to apply for. New Mexico cannabis cards are prescribed to patients for the
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Oregon
Oregon Marijuana Card allows Oregon Cannabis Patients the use of medical marijuana to treat symptoms such as Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, or treatment for these conditions;
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Rhode Island
Rhode Island Marijuana Card allows Cannabis Patients in Rhode Island the use of medical marijuana as a medicine to treat symptoms such as Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for
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Vermont
Vermont Marijuana Card allows Cannabis Patients in Vermont the use of medical marijuana as a medicine to treat symptoms such as Cancer, AIDS, positive status for HIV, multiple
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Washington
Washington Marijuana Card allows Cannabis or Marijuana Patients in Washington State the use of medical marijuana as a medicine to treat symptoms such as Cachexia; cancer; HIV or
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9 states allow recreational marijuana use.

In certain states, patients may apply for their state medical marijuana card assuming they qualify under the listed medical conditions outlined by the Department of Health Services for their respective state. While each state has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, individual state jurisdiction laws are set in place that govern the growing, harvesting, selling, distribution, use and possession of medical marijuana.

Defining the “Approved” Use of a Medical Marijuana Cannabis Card

First and foremost, all marijuana use, whether medical or not, remains illegal under federal law. Even if marijuana can be approved and legalized by an individual state’s legislature, it is not yet condoned by federal lawmakers.

Nonetheless, the growing support and appreciation of medical marijuana has placed this alternative medicine into a category of high demand. States are now allowing the placement of propositions on voting ballots, so registered voters may decide whether or not their respective state should allow the legalization of medical marijuana and the authorization of patients to use it.

In the areas where medical marijuana is legal, patients are approved through a medical marijuana recommendation, evaluation and medical cannabis card registry process by a physician with a medical cannabis license. Once approved, patients can legally purchase, possess — and in certain cases cultivate — their own marijuana plants.

Patients are allowed to use marijuana as an alternative medicine to both alleviate and treat their diagnosed diseases, ailments, illnesses and chronic symptoms to achieve pain relief.

The Necessity of a Medical Marijuana Cannabis Card

Medical marijuana cards are not only a matter of being registered to receive medicine, but also a matter of both legality and common sense. If patients do not possess a medical marijuana card in their respective state, in accordance to both federal and state law, they are using the medication illegally. Patients who illegally use marijuana may be subjected to harsh civil and criminal penalties, depending on their state of residence.

Only after receiving an evaluation, recommendation and medical marijuana card through a registry process may patients be allowed to use medical marijuana. Patients need to consider a medical marijuana card as their only access to their desired medicine, through facilities such as medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, wellness centers and clinics — and also as the legal protection they so desperately need in their state.

A medical marijuana card ensures that you’re a registered patient within your state, and helps avoid any possible legal issues regarding possession of medical marijuana that may ensue without one.

How long is a Medical Marijuana Card valid for?

Medical marijuana cards are issued by the Public Health Department or Human Resources Department in the patient’s state of residence, and are usually valid for up to one year. After a patient’s medical marijuana card expires, they must then renew their medical marijuana card by following the same process as when the patient originally applied.

The renewal process includes verifying your information and receipt of a new medical marijuana registry card and new number. In the event that the patient’s medical documentations are still valid, they may use them for the renewal.

In some cases, patients may be required to obtain medical documentation and the state’s program will verify any other information required for the renewal process. A primary caregiver’s card, will expire when their designated patient’s medical marijuana card expires, even if it’s less than a year.

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