How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington
The medical marijuana program in Washington state is orchestrated differently from most other states. Once qualified by a physician, patients can visit any medically endorsed marijuana stores to speak with a certified consultant to enter into a medical marijuana authorization database and obtain a recognition card. This card enables patients to purchase, possess, and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their residence.
The state’s medical marijuana program is overseen by the Washington Department of Health. Health-care practitioners may authorize the use of marijuana for any patient as long as it’s medically appropriate under state law and the profession’s standard of care. Jessica Baggett, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, told Weedmaps News that there have been 33,384 recognition cards issued as of June 29, 2018. Intractable pain was listed as the top qualifying condition, making up a whopping 77% of certified adult patients in Washington.
Washington’s Qualifying Conditions
- Anorexia and other diseases which result in nausea, vomiting, cachexia (wasting syndrome), appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity
- Chronic renal failure requiring hemodialysis
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Spasticity disorders
- Traumatic brain injury
Applying for Medical Marijuana in Washington
Those who wish to become a medical marijuana patient in Washington must be a resident of the state, have a qualifying medical condition, and obtain a Medical Marijuana Authorization form from a healthcare practitioner.
Qualifying patients who believe they would benefit from the use of medical marijuana may see any of the following types of healthcare practitioners licensed in Washington:
- Medical doctor (MD)
- Physician assistant (PA)
- Osteopathic physician (DO)
- Osteopathic physician assistant (DOA)
- Naturopathic physician
- Advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP)
Patients younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian who participates in the treatment and agrees to the medical use of marijuana by the minor along the guidelines specified by state law . Both the minor and parent or guardian must be entered in the state’s medical marijuana authorization database and hold a recognition card.
A Patient’s Guide to the Medical Marijuana Authorization is an official resource that parents or guardians of applicable underage patients may want to browse before starting the application process.
Appointing a Caregiver
A designated provider must meet requirements established under state law . The law permits a “1-to-1 relationship,” meaning a patient can only have one designated provider and a designated provider can only serve one patient at a time. A patient’s healthcare practitioner must issue two authorizations — one indicating who the patient’s designated provider is and one indicating who the designated provider’s patient is.
Acquiring Your Medicine
All licensed and medically endorsed marijuana stores are required to have a certified medical marijuana consultant on staff to work with patients and create recognition cards. These consultants, who are required to complete a 20-hour training program , are not medical providers, and can only assist patients with:
- Entering patient and designated provider information from the authorization form into the medical marijuana database and creating the medical marijuana recognition card.
- Assisting the patient with selecting products that may help with their condition.
- Describing risks and benefits of methods for using products.
- Giving advice on ways to properly store products and keep them safe from children and pets.
- Showing how to properly use products.
- Answering questions about the medical marijuana law.
Qualified patients and designated providers may legally purchase any combination of the following from a licensed marijuana store:
- 3 ounces, or 85 grams, of usable marijuana
- 48 ounces, or 1.36 kilograms, of marijuana-infused products in solid form
- 216 fluid ounces, or 6.39 liters, of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, or
- 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.
Recognition cardholders may also grow up to four plants for personal medical use in their home or as a member of a cooperative. They are legally allowed to possess up to 8 ounces, or 227 grams, of usable marijuana produced from those plants. If a patient’s health-care practitioner determines the patient requires more than the presumptive amount, they may authorize up to 15 plants for personal medical use and possession of up to 16 ounces of usable marijuana produced from their plants.
Rules for Patients Visiting from Other States (Reciprocity)
Washington does not have a reciprocity clause, but while a person with a medical marijuana card from another state would not be afforded the same protections or receive the same benefits as a qualifying patient residing in the state, any consumer 21 or older can legally purchase cannabis products from a licensed adult-use store . Non-resident patients may want to consider locating a medically endorsed store and reviewing that retailer’s menu to find a medical marijuana product similar to what they’re taking.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington The medical marijuana program in Washington state is orchestrated differently from most other states. Once qualified by a physician, patients can
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Common conditions cannabis recommended for include
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Renal Failure
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C with Debilitating Nausea or Intractable Pain
- Intractable pain (Defined as pain unrelieved by standard treatment or medications)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Diseases, including Anorexia, which result in nausea; vomiting; wasting; appetite loss; cramping; seizures; muscle spasms; or spasticity; when those conditions are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications, to the list of qualifying medical conditions
- Other conditions subject to the approval of the Washington Board of Health
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Frequently Asked Questions
Patients who have enrolled in Washington state’s voluntary medical marijuana patient registry may possess 8 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; 3 ounces of usable marijuana; 216 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form; or 21 grams of marijuana concentrates.
Non-medical users may possess up to: one ounce of usable marijuana; sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form; seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form; or seven grams of marijuana concentrate.
21 grams possession limit of cannabis concentrate for those with a medical marijuana card. 7 grams recreational.
1998 – Ballot Initiative I-692 is approved. Those with valid documentation from a physician may access, use, possess and cultivate marijuana for their illness.
2007 – Senate Bill 6032 (SB 6032) amends the rules defined by the legislature.
2008 – The Final Rule is amended, and includes a list of conditions cannabis may be recommended for.
2010 – State vs. Fry rules that Ballot Initiative I-692 did not legalize marijuana, but provides a qualifying user with an affirmative defense, as long as the user complies with medical marijuana laws.2010 – Chronic renal failure is added to the list of conditions cannabis may be recommended for in Washington.
2011 – SB 5073 is amended. Governor Christine Gregoire only signs some of the bill’s sections, vetoing voluntary patient registration and the instructions for creating state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
2012 – Voters approved Initiative 502, allowing the state of Washington to license and regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana.
2015 – SB 5052 passes in both the House and the Senate. SB 5052 is signed by Governor Jay Inslee, with some partial vetoes. PTSD is also added to the list of qualifying conditions. Registration onto the state database is voluntary.
2016 – The Cannabis Protection Act goes into full effect, affording medical marijuana patients with protection from state-level penalties, clarifying the definition of “medical marijuana use” and tax breaks when purchasing marijuana.
Those who have registered onto the state registry system may possess up to 3 ounces of usable marijuana, 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form, 21 grams of concentrate or 216 ounces of marijuana-infused products in liquid form.
Those who have entered the state registry system may cultivate up to 6 plants for personal medical use, with a possession limit of up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana on their own property (3 ounces possession when on-person). Those not entered onto the system may cultivate up to 4 plants and possess up to 6 ounces of usable marijuana.
There are no medical marijuana dispensaries. Retail operators may sell medical cannabis.
Patient must be aged 18 or older in order to apply for a medical marijuana card for themselves.
There is a caregiver program. Caregivers must be aged 21 or over, and be authorized by the patient’s healthcare professional and/or entered onto an authorized database. Caregiver can only provide cannabis to one patient at a time, to the expressed patient.
There is no reciprocity with other medical marijuana states.
For those without a medical marijuana card, private consumption and consumption of 1 ounce or less of cannabis brings no penalties, charges or fines. Using cannabis in public, however, is a Civil Penalty offense and brings a fine of $100.
Possession of between more than an ounce and 40 g of cannabis is a misdemeanor. Incarceration can last between 24 hours (mandatory minimum sentence) and 90 days, with a $1,000 fine. Advertising paraphernalia brings similar sentences.
Possession of more than 40 g is a felony, with up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Intending to distribute any amount without a license brings similar punishment, as does cultivating any amount without a medical marijuana card. This may be added to, as knowingly maintaining a structure used for drug offenses may bring charges of up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.
Vehicles and other property may be seized. Juveniles caught with cannabis will have driving privileges revoked.
Epilepsy and conditions that cause seizures
Chronic renal failure
Intractable pain, unrelieved by other painkillers or treatments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and conditions that cause persistent muscle spasms and/or spasticity
Wasting & appetite loss
Chronic renal failure
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Telehealth/telemedicine available in Washington. However, relationship must first be established between patient and physician in-person in order to qualify for medical marijuana in Washington. An initial examination is needed.
If a qualifying patient has not been entered into the medical marijuana authorization database, he/she may grow, in his or her domicile, up to 4 plants for the personal medical use of the qualifying patient and 6 possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile.
Those entered in the state’s voluntary patient database may cultivate, in his or her domicile, up to 6 plants for the personal medical use and possess up to 8 ounces of useable marijuana produced from his or her plants.
If the patient’s healthcare practitioner determines the patient requires more than the presumptive amount, they may authorize:
Up to 15 plants for personal medical use, and
May possess 16 ounces of usable marijuana produced from their plants.
Note: No more than 15 plants may be grown or located in any one housing unit even if multiple qualifying patients or designated providers reside in the housing unit. The only exception will be for cooperative gardens established under SB 5052.
No, Washington does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states as valid. Some states may choose to recognize a Washington medical marijuana card.
It takes around 10 – 15 days to get a physicial copy of your Washington MMJ card. There was once a 90-day mandatory waiting period for a Washington medical marijuana card.
You must be aged 18 years old or over in order to apply for a Washington medical marijuana card. Caregivers must be 18 years old or over.
$200, although fees may be reduced for those in receipt of social security. This is the application fee payable to the state, and does not include the cost of the physician’s appointment, which is $100 (subject to change).
Patients aged under 18 need a caregiver and “Designated Provider”. Designated provider is a person who has been designated in writing by a patient to serve as a designated provider. The caregiver must be 21 years of age or older. The provider must also possess either authorization from the qualifying patient’s health care professional or has been entered into an authorized database. The provider must only provide cannabis to the expressed patient.
Minors under the age of 18 who are in need of medical cannabis need to renew their medical marijuana recognition card and speak to a physician every 6 months.
Patients must be a resident in the state of Washington and have photo I.D. produced by the state of Washington, such as an I.D. card or a Driver’s Licence. Out-of-state ID is not accepted.
Patients must be at least eighteen (18) years of age. If under the age of eighteen (18), patients must have a designated provider. Patients under the age of 21 cannot receive Medical marijuana that was produced, processed or delivered through a cooperative garden, nor participate in a cooperative garden. The designated provider can only participate on behalf of the patient.
Patients must be diagnosed with one or more of the qualifying condition(s), and provide evidence of their condition/s with their medical records.
If Patients receive an authorization from a Healthcare Practitioner, patients are able to grow up to four (4) plants. If patients are authorized to grow more than four (4) plants, they can access the benefits of being a regonized card holder by taking their authorization form to a Medically Endorsed Marijuana Store. They will then be entered into the Medical Marijuana Authorization Database and the plants the patient has been allotted to grow will be printed on a card.
No. Cannabis is federally illegal, so the costs of medical marijuana are not covered by insurance in the US.
Hunger hormones are low in those with eating disorders. THC can help increase appetite.
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