Questions You Can and Can’t Ask Your Doctor about Marijuana Services

The state requires that you go through a medical cannabis evaluation before they’ll give you the legal right to use medicinal marijuana. Once you’ve completed this evaluation the doctor will give you a letter of recommendation that you can take to a dispensary and use to purchase medical cannabis. The process is pretty simple up to that point, but once you have the letter in hand you’ll need to find the dispensary by yourself. Legally, your doctor can give you the right to use medical marijuana; he just can’t tell you where to get it.

The system is still flawed, but it works a whole lot better than it did before the Compassionate Use Act was passed in 1996. It’s even better now than it was in 2003, when Senate Bill 420 established the medical marijuana users’ registry and 420 Cards. Unfortunately, federal laws still make the distribution and manufacture of medical marijuana a crime so your doctor cannot tell you where to go to get it. In March of 2009, the attorney general for the Obama administration announced that federal authorities would no longer interfere with California medical marijuana programs. Hopefully that will make things a bit easier for those who need this service.

Your  doctor can tell you how effective medical marijuana is and how it has helped hundreds of patients legally since 1996. He can also tell you how historically there has always been opposition to new medical processes and procedures. In 1978 there was worldwide opposition to the first test tube pregnancy but the results of that baby being born are that millions of women now have a chance to conceive a child using IVF technology. The opposition that medical marijuana gets today may someday be looked back upon with a smile and a disbelieving shake of the head, much like we do when we look back at those opposed to the 1978 conception of Louise Joy Brown.

For now, thanks to a more understanding federal administration, the use of medical cannabis can grow freely in the state of California. As time goes on, the benefits of this wonderful treatment method will drown out the protests of the opposition. Freedom is not free. It takes hard work and time to make it a reality. As long as we’re going in the right direction we’ll eventually get there. Legalizing the use of medical marijuana was definitely a step in the right direction. Getting people to see that is a process.

What is involved in a Medical Marijuana Evaluation?

A visit to a medical marijuana evaluation center is the final step in the process to secure a letter of recommendation to possess and use medical marijuana to treat a physical, mental, or emotional condition that qualifies under state guidelines. All residents of the state of California have the legal right to seek out this option. To begin the process it is suggested that you visit your primary care physician and have your condition evaluated to see what your treatment and/or therapy options are. Medical marijuana is effective to offset the discomfort of many conditions but it is not the only solution.

A certified physician will want to see the paperwork from that primary caregiver’s evaluation as part of his own evaluation to determine whether or not you are eligible for medical marijuana treatment. There will be a number of questions asked in this process and some paperwork to fill out. Be patient because the doctor has legal guidelines he must follow. The process may seem difficult and at times you may feel that your request for a letter of recommendation is being opposed. That is not the case. All bases need to be covered to satisfy state laws so relax and answer the questions to the best of your ability.

After the doctor has completed his part of the question asking he will request that you ask any that you might have. Everyone has some kind of questions to ask. The use of medical marijuana is still fairly new and there is a lot of curiosity about how it works, how effective it is, the amounts you can possess legally, etc. Make sure you get all inquiries out of the way on that first visit. Once approved, you will not be seeing that doctor again for another year when renewal time comes around.

If you like, after you’re approved and have a letter of recommendation in hand, you can register with the county and apply for a 420 Card. This is a photo identification card that you can show at dispensaries or to law enforcement officials as proof that you are legally able to possess and use medical marijuana. 420 Cards are not mandatory but they are recommended. They are an additional layer of protection and a guarantee that you won’t be hassled for your legal marijuana use.

Legal Possession, Transport and Cultivation of Medicinal Marijuana

In 1996, the state of California passed groundbreaking legislation that legalized the use of medical marijuana. As it is with anything that is being done for the first time, the Compassionate Use Act formerly known as Proposition 215 was a controversial piece of work that is still under debate at state and federal levels today. The way that it was originally written it gave patients legal grounds to contest a possession arrest in court but didn’t prevent that arrest in the first place. The first few years of the right to use medicinal marijuana did little to provide any rights at all.

In 2003, another piece of legislation called Senate Bill 420 was passed by the California state senate to help clean up some of the mess that wasn’t addressed by Prop 215. It created a registry of medical marijuana patients and an ID card system using what is now known as 420 Cards. It also clearly stated the guidelines of up to but not exceeding 6 mature plants per patient and 8 oz of bud or conversion for possession, transportation, delivery or cultivation. This new law is the standard we use today, though the possession amounts are being debated as being too small for practical use.

The voters of California voted and approved both Proposition 215 and Senate Bill 420. Unfortunately, there are still federal laws that make possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana, even with a medical marijuana card, against the law. During the first decade of the 21st Century the groundbreaking state law was almost broken by federal officials raiding medicinal marijuana producers and locking up those who wished to see the therapeutic use of marijuana expanded in the state of California. It wasn’t until March of 2009 that federal officials finally announced that they would no longer try to thwart medical marijuana use or distribution in California.

This decision by the current federal administration has cleared the way for California state law to work the way it was intended to work. After securing a referral from their primary care doctor, a patient can now visit a medical marijuana evaluation center and obtain a letter of recommendation which they can use to acquire a 420 Card. Once they have both of these they can use, possess, transport, and cultivate medical marijuana legally and without fear.

The Process of Getting a Recommendation and a Marijuana Card

The Compassionate Use Act was passed in the state of California in 1996 and gives patients the right to use medical marijuana to treat certain mental and physical conditions. It also requires that any patient wishing to do that receive a letter of recommendation for medical marijuana use from a certified physician. In 2003, the state senate passed another bill called SB 420, establishing a registry for medical marijuana users which is administered on a county level. This registry offers picture ID cards for use as proof to law enforcement officials and marijuana dispensaries that an individual has the legal right to possess, grow, transport and use medical marijuana. These identification cards are called 420 Cards.

The first step in becoming a medical marijuana patient is a visit to your primary care doctor. This doctor can be a medical doctor or physical therapist, an acupuncturist, a podiatrist, chiropractor, or another allied health care professional. They are not the final word in the process; they are just the first step. Taking their recommendation to a medical marijuana evaluation center is the next step. It is there that you’ll be evaluated by another doctor and the determination will be made whether or not you qualify as a candidate for medical marijuana treatment.

That approval comes in the form of a letter of recommendation which you can take to any dispensary to purchase marijuana. That letter, according to The Compassionate Use Act, is the only documentation you need to possess or use medical marijuana. The registry that was established by SB 420 is voluntary. You are not obligated to apply for a 420 Card from the county but most patients do. Possession of such a card offers additional protection from law enforcement officials and leads to far fewer questions than just a letter with no photo on it does.

According to SB 420, the medical marijuana users’ registry will be administered by counties and counties are responsible for maintaining it themselves through fees, so there will be a fee to obtain a 420 Card. The cards, like letters of recommendation, are good for a period of one year. In order to renew you must apply back to the medical marijuana evaluation center first and go through the entire process over again each year.

Medical, Legal and Privacy Issues Surrounding the Use of Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, after decades of bearing the stigma of being a street narcotic, has entered the main stream in California as a viable medical solution for those suffering from chronic pain, the inability to eat, nausea, and anxiety. In 1996, the Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215 was passed, legalizing the use of medical marijuana provided that it is recommended and approved by a physician. For thousands of Californians since then it has been a source of relief, but there are still many questions asked by those who are not familiar with how it works.

The use of medical marijuana for qualified physical and mental conditions needs to be recommended by a qualified physician, medical doctor, acupuncturist, chiropractor, physical therapist, podiatrist, or another allied healthcare professional. Once a patient has obtained that recommendation he or she needs to take that and documentation about their condition to a medical marijuana evaluation center. It is there that they will receive a letter of recommendation to take to the dispensary to pick up marijuana.

The doctor cannot legally help find a dispensary. That responsibility lies solely with the patient. There are also laws governing the amount of marijuana you can have in your possession and the amount you can cultivate or grow in your home. These guidelines are part of the original Compassionate Use Act but you should consult an attorney to find out exactly what is and what is not legal. There are federal laws to consider also, which in some cases differ from state laws.

As far as privacy is concerned, the only times you will be confirmed to an outside entity as a patient using medical marijuana are when a dispensary calls to verify your letter of recommendation or a law enforcement official calls to verify its expiration date. The details of why you are using medical marijuana are protected and will not be disclosed to anyone without your written permission. Like any other medical issue, your choice of relief methods is entirely your own. In the case of medical marijuana that choice is completely legal, ethical, and has been proven effective by many before you.

Facts and Fallacies about Acquiring a Marijuana License

This post is not a legal guideline on the laws governing the use of medical marijuana in California. For legal advice, seek out an attorney. The information you are about to read is for the purpose of helping you understand what a marijuana license, marijuana card, and marijuana letter of recommendation are and how you can acquire them. According to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, residents of California have the legal right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, provided they have a letter of recommendation from an accredited physician.

The term “marijuana license” is the common term used to describe either a letter of recommendation or a marijuana card issued by the California Department of Health. These two items are entirely different from each other and neither is a “license to use” as they are often described on the streets. Medical marijuana is a method of treating illness and pain, similar to prescription drugs. It is not something that should be used indiscriminately if a medical condition does not exist. A regular physician should always be consulted before it is dispensed to any patient.

The letter of recommendation from a cannabis doctor is mandatory to legally use medical marijuana in California. Even with that letter there are still laws governing the amount you can possess and cultivate. You should consult an attorney about these if you’re going to use medical marijuana and make sure that you always have your letter of recommendation on you in the event you are questioned by law enforcement officials about your marijuana use. You should also use responsibly and not drive immediately after you have smoked.

420 Cards issued by counties in California are not mandatory, but some patients choose to acquire them because they are picture identification and can help avoid hassles with law enforcement. The only documentation you are legally required to have is your letter of recommendation. Once you have obtained that from a medical marijuana evaluation center you can legally possess and use medical marijuana.

Does my medical condition make me eligible for medical marijuana?

There are a number of conditions that make you eligible for a medical marijuana card in the State of California. In order to find out if yours is one of them you need to consult a physician, preferably your own doctor. Among the recognized situations where the use of medical marijuana is recommended are Migraine headaches, Chronic pain, Glaucoma, AIDS/HIV, Cancer, Chronic nausea, Muscle spasms, Anorexia, Depression, Sports Injuries, Auto Accidents, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and to ease the discomfort and pain of ESRD/ DIALYSIS patients.

The list is not limited to the above conditions. There are other situations where the use of cannabis as a medicine may be practical. Only a medical professional can determine if yours happens to be one of them. Seek advice from your regular doctor and then come and see Doctor Ross to get a letter of recommendation you can take to the dispensary. You can then use that letter to get a medical marijuana card from California’s Department of Health if you wish.

If you’re wondering whether or not your condition qualifies and procrastinating about seeing a doctor, take another look at the list of medical problems published above. You’ll see a common thread of conditions that hamper the eating process and conditions that are related to high anxiety. If you think that your problem may be similar go online and do some research to get medical marijuana info. You’ll still need to see a doctor at some point but the research may convince you to finally make the call.

Once your physician has determined that your condition qualifies, you can move forward to a marijuana evaluation to get your letter of recommendation. There are medical dispensaries throughout the state where you can acquire marijuana with that letter of recommendation but you will have to find them on your own. Our doctor is not permitted by law to assist you in locating marijuana or helping you to acquire it. For a complete legal breakdown of the laws on medical marijuana use and possession you should make it a point to consult with your attorney.

What happens when I come to the medical marijuana evaluation center for the first time?

There is a natural sense of uncertainty when a patient visits a doctor for the first time about medical marijuana needs. What can you expect? To begin with, it’s important to remember that marijuana for you is going to be a recommended medication. The law that governs the use of it for medicinal purposes was passed because marijuana offers some real medical benefits. The doctor you will see is a medical professional who can answer any questions you might have about the use of medical marijuana and why it could be the effective solution for your particular condition.

The next item on the agenda will be the filling out of forms and then a consultation with the doctor which is basically a medical marijuana evaluation. Your need for the medication needs to be assessed. By this point you should have some records from your regular physician documenting your condition and a written recommendation suggesting the use of marijuana to treat it. The doctor who does your evaluation at our facility will review these documents and ask you questions about your illness.

Once the evaluation is complete, the doctor will ask you if you have any questions about the process or the benefits of medical marijuana. Ask as many as you like. It is important that you understand what you will be taking and why. Once it is clear that you understand our doctor will issue you a letter of recommendation which will be honored by a dispensary of your choice and give you the ability to legally purchase marijuana to treat your condition.

In order to qualify for a letter of recommendation you must be over eighteen years old and have medical documentation proving your condition. If you do not have that documentation you may be able to receive a temporary letter of recommendation from the  doctor after your evaluation but you will need to bring proof back in to have your letter upgraded to be effective for a full year. Medical insurance is not accepted by our facility but you can pay by credit card the day of your visit and bill your insurance company for compensation later on.


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Orange County Medical Marijuana Evaluation Services
26302 La Paz #103
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

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