By June 2022, 39 states, along with Washington, D.C. have established laws regarding medical cannabis. Without federal guidelines, states have created their own policies. This has led to a mix of laws and rules, providing different levels of access.
Here is a list of states that currently have medical marijuana programs:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Some states have permitted the use of medical cannabis, but their limitations on eligible conditions, dosages, and allowed products are so strict that these states are frequently not viewed as operational medical markets.
1. A Medical Marijuana Card Gives You Freedom
Cannabis laws in the United States can be confusing. Applying for a medical marijuana card can protect you from specific legal issues.
While recreational users have restrictions on the amount of cannabis they can have, medical marijuana cardholders can possess as much as their prescriptions allow.
Having a medical cannabis card ensures you are compliant with the law. But you still need to be careful when crossing state boundaries, as not all places will recognize your card. But with the recreational market facing legal complexities, having a medical marijuana recommendation and card offers a safer option to avoid legal troubles.
2. A Medical Marijuana Card Can Help You Save Money
Many states with medical cannabis programs impose lower tax rates on medical marijuana compared to recreational products, offering significant savings for cardholders.
Some states only impose less than 8% in taxes (Arizona) on medical marijuana, vs. the 21.6% tax rate for recreational users. In states like Louisiana that don’t have a recreational marijuana program, medical marijuana users don’t pay any tax at all.
If you’re on a tight budget, the tax advantages of having a medical cannabis card could be the most significant benefit. These tax savings don’t affect the quality of your marijuana. Actually, you’ll pay lower taxes and still get access to higher-quality cannabis.
Below is the tax breakdown of medical marijuana per state:
- Alaska: 0% tax
- Arizona: 8-10% tax
- Arkansas: 10% tax
- California: 15% tax
- Colorado: 2.9% tax
- Connecticut: 6.35% tax
- Delaware :0% tax
- Florida: 6% tax
- Hawaii: 4% tax
- Illinois: 1% tax
- Iowa: 6% tax
- Louisiana: 0% tax
- Maine: 5.5% tax (or 8% for edibles)
- Maryland: 0% tax
- Massachusetts: 0% tax
- Michigan: 6% tax
- Minnesota: 0% tax
- Missouri: 4% tax
- Montana: 4% tax
- Nevada: 4.6% tax
- New Hampshire: 0% tax
- New Jersey: 2% tax (dropping to 0% in July 2022)
- New Mexico: 5-8% tax
- New York: 7% tax
- North Dakota: 5% tax
- Ohio: 6.5-7.25% tax
- Oklahoma: 12% tax
- Oregon: 0% tax
- Pennsylvania: 0% tax
- Rhode Island: 7% tax
- Utah: 0% tax
- Vermont: 0% tax
- Virginia: 0% tax
- Washington: 0% tax
- Washington DC: 5.74% tax
- West Virginia: 10% tax
3. Higher Possession Limits
Patients with medical conditions are allowed to have in their possession a supply of cannabis for 60 days, as determined by their doctor. The recommended quantity is enough to allow patients to have and keep a larger amount of medical cannabis compared to recreational users.
But this depends on the amount recommended in your certification, so check your limits first and speak to your doctor if the amount recommended isn’t enough to meet your daily needs.
Check your state laws for possession limits. Consumers found in violation of their state’s possession limits may face criminal penalties.
Below is a breakdown of state-by-state possession limits as of June 2022:
|State||Medical Cannabis Possession Limit|
|Alabama||70 daily dosages|
|Arizona||2.5 oz every 14 days|
|Arkansas||2.5 oz every 14 days|
|District of Columbia||2 oz dried|
|Illinois||2.5 oz every 14 days|
|Iowa||4.5 grams THC every 90 days|
|Louisiana||1-month supply, case-by-case amount determined|
|Maryland||30-day supply, determined by physician|
|Massachusetts||60-day supply/10 oz|
|Mississippi||3.5 grams of cannabis per day, capped at six days a week/3 oz per month|
|Missouri||4 oz dried flower per 30-day period|
|New Hampshire||2 oz every 10 days|
|New Jersey||3 oz|
|New Mexico||6 oz|
|North Dakota||3 oz every 14 days|
|Ohio||90-day supply, amount to be determined|
|Rhode Island||2.5 oz|
|South Dakota||3 oz|
|Texas||Determined by physician|
|Utah||113 grams (unprocessed cannabis)|
|Virginia||90 day supply of extracts and botanicals|
|West Virginia||30-day supply, amount to be determined|
4. Better Quality Medical Marijuana
Unlike recreational cannabis users, medical cannabis patients have the advantage of buying products from licensed dispensaries that are regulated and held to higher standards.
Recreational marijuana may not be monitored as closely as medical marijuana, potentially resulting in lower quality. Medical marijuana cardholders can access more accurate dosing, which is especially important for strong cannabis edibles.
Medical cannabis programs often require strict testing and quality control measures to ensure that the products being sold are free from pathogens (bacteria and mold).
With a medical marijuana card, patients can also have peace of mind knowing that the products they are buying are accurately labeled and properly dosed. This is for those with specific medical conditions who require precise dosing to manage their symptoms effectively.
5. Legal Protections
Even though consuming medical marijuana in public is not allowed, you won’t face legal issues for buying one from a licensed dispensary or for carrying an amount within the state’s legal limit, provided you’re carrying an amount within the state’s legally defined possession limit.
Make sure your medical marijuana card is updated when carrying around your medical cannabis.
6. You Get Access to Exclusive Medical Dispensaries
Medical marijuana dispensaries serve only medical patients and provide products, strains, and extra assistance.
Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wider selection of products compared to recreational dispensaries. This includes options such as tinctures, topicals, edibles, and concentrates, which may not be as readily available in recreational stores.
The diversity of products ensures that patients have more choices to find the most suitable form of cannabis for their specific conditions and preferences.
Medical cannabis dispensaries also provide an opportunity for patients to connect with a supportive community. Patients often gather at these dispensaries, sharing experiences and knowledge, which can be valuable for individuals navigating their medical cannabis journey.
7. Access to Medical Cannabis with Higher Potency
Recreational users wanting a larger dose might have to buy more products, increasing their expenses. But those who have a medical marijuana card often have access to higher purchasing allotments.
Depending on the state’s laws, these products might have higher THC levels per package and dose compared to what’s available at recreational dispensaries.
Items such as high-strength vape cartridges and edibles are more likely to have higher doses for medical patients, with potencies frequently ranging between 50% and 90%.
8. Grow Your Own Marijuana
Note: Not all states allow homegrown marijuana. Check your state’s laws.
Growing your own marijuana can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality medicine. While many medical marijuana patients rely on dispensaries for their cannabis needs, cultivating your own plants offers numerous benefits.
Many states with medical and recreational uses have implemented laws allowing home cultivation. This provision enables individuals to grow their own cannabis.
Patients are allowed to cultivate extra plants or seedlings. This step guarantees that consumers have access and probably helps patients save money as well.
States to pass home grow law:
- Hawaii (Medical-only)
- Illinois (Medical cultivation only, not recreational)
- New Mexico
- New York
- Oklahoma (Medical-only)
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Washington (Medical-only)
Make sure to check your state laws before starting your home cannabis grow.
What Does a Medical Marijuana Card Do?
A medical marijuana card is an official document that grants individuals legal access to buy and use marijuana for medical purposes.
While the regulations may vary from state to state, having a medical marijuana card can offer a lot of benefits to patients in need.
Getting a medical marijuana card allows you to legally buy medical cannabis from a dispensary within your state. This is the sole method to lawfully acquire cannabis in states where recreational use is not yet legal.
Your card can also provide you with reciprocity advantages, letting you buy your medicine from dispensaries in different states. But reciprocity is a complicated matter with many regulations, so make sure to check the rules when you plan to travel.
One more advantage of having a medical marijuana card is that it may permit you to legally cultivate your own medicinal plants.
For instance, Illinois allows individuals with a medical card to grow up to five plants at home in a secure space. Even though it is a state where recreational use is legal, only medical cardholders are allowed to grow cannabis at home, a benefit not extended to recreational users.
Can You Use a Medical Card as ID?
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the use of a medical marijuana card as a form of identification. While they are issued by governmental authorities and include your photograph, medical cannabis cards are intended for specific uses and may not necessarily serve as a replacement for a passport or driver’s license.
In certain states, private enterprises may opt to recognize a medical card as a form of ID, but they are also entitled to decline it. To be safe, carry your driver’s license or another form of identification on hand, as there’s no assurance that your medical card will be accepted as an ID.
How Much is a Medical Marijuana Card?
As of now, there are 3.6 million individuals across the country who are legally registered as medical marijuana patients. A significant number of these patients live in states where recreational marijuana is also legal, due to the extra advantages that come with possessing a medical marijuana card.
Each state can set its own fees for issuing a card. Take note that these do not take into account any additional expenses related to obtaining a doctor’s certification.
While these certifications aren’t typically costly, they can contribute to the overall expense. Plan your budget accordingly before applying.
Do You Need a Prescription for Medical Marijuana?
Due to its Schedule 1 status, doctors can’t prescribe medical marijuana like a regular drug. States utilize the language in the law, calling it a recommendation instead of a prescription. This recommendation allows you to access the dispensary once you have a doctor’s approval.
They can only recommend the use of medical marijuana. They might discuss the advantages of cannabis sativa or inform the patient about the perks of having a medical marijuana card, but they can’t prescribe it.
You need to get a recommendation from your physician in order to get a medical marijuana card. You also have to register for your state’s medical marijuana program.
Even though doctors can’t issue a formal prescription for medical marijuana, states that have authorized its medicinal use treat these recommendations in the same way as a prescription.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana
Register at TeleLeaf
The registration process takes less than 5 minutes. Just choose your state, fill out our brief intake form, and schedule a convenient time for your telemedicine appointment. Then our team will help you every step of the way.
Meet with a Doctor Online
Consult with one of our experienced and knowledgeable cannabis physicians. They will evaluate your condition(s), answer your questions, and advise you on treatment—all from the comfort of your home.
Get Approval and Gain Access
Once approved for medical marijuana, you will receive your recommendation and will be given immediate access to cannabis dispensaries or a medical card will be sent to you, depending on your state.
Safe and Secure Medical Marijuana Card Application at TeleLeaf
Getting approved for your medical marijuana card has never been easier. But more importantly, our compassionate doctors will help you find relief, improve your health, and elevate the quality of your life.
Contact us at TeleLeaf today to get started on your medical marijuana journey.
Cannabis and housing law – Illinois Legal Aid Online
Drug Scheduling – DFA
Karger – Demographics, Perceptions, and Use of Medical Marijuana among Patients in Florida