Online doctor evaluation platforms now allow anyone in California to get a medical marijuana recommendation from the comfort of home, find out how.
With the passage of Proposition 64, California ended 2016 and rang in the new-year and a new era in cannabis culture, use, and acceptance. Though the use of medical marijuana had long been permitted in California following the Compassionate Care Act of 1996, these recent strides to legalize marijuana for its citizens and liberalize regulations have caused a boom for the recreational as well as medical use of cannabis.
The era of the stigmatized marijuana user and anachronistic taboos about only criminals and burnouts “smoking the mari-juana” is ever-so-quickly being replaced by tolerance, coupled with a legal framework that not only allows an increasing number of people access to the flower but also provides California an avenue to generate tax revenue that can be put back into the state for other purposes.
To deter users from the black market, California now permits any resident over the age of 21 the ability to possess up to an ounce of ganja, as well as grow six plants for personal use. The caveat, however, is that residents don’t yet have full access to benefit from the new regulations, since recreational licenses for cannabis dispensaries won’t be issued until January, 2018.
Even with Legalization, You Still Need a MMJ Card to Purchase Cannabis
People seeking to purchase medical cannabis in California still need an official doctor’s recommendation to do so, meaning access is restricted to only the medical cannabis market while the nuts and bolts of the recreational market are put in place.
But don’t fret, Californians! State laws on who can get an MMJ card permit a certified medical professional to recommend cannabis for a long list of ailments (i.e. cancer, arthritis, etc.) and leave open the possibility for the professional to recommend ganja to help relieve any ailment that (s)he deems worthy.
And if you’re at all familiar with how the current system works in California, you’re aware that receiving having a medical marijuana evaluation for cannabis from a licensed physician isn’t necessarily hard to achieve.
The requirements for being evaluated for medical marijuana in California include:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a valid U.S. identification (it’s a misconception that you need a CA ID card)
- Must have a qualifying medical condition (find the full list here)
However, marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug on the federal level forces a sort of reticence on the part of many medical professionals to recommend cannabis as a treatment. As a Schedule I drug, marijuana cannot be prescribed as it has, according to the DEA, “no currently accepted medical use, and a high potential for abuse.”
Is a “Recommendation” any Different Than a “MMJ Card?”
California, like several states is taking a more pragmatic stand on (medical) marijuana. Still, it should be noted the semantics of a “recommendation” versus a “prescription.” Medical professionals are only permitted to “recommend” (and not prescribe) cannabis. Luckily, there are some professionals that see the benefits of marijuana and will “recommend” it to patients with just a short consultation.
It’s also prudent for us to point out that the terms “marijuana recommendation” and “medical marijuana card” are often used interchangeably, but that there is indeed a slight difference. A doctor’s “letter of recommendation” is often a full-size sheet of paper, while the card is oftentimes a durable, wallet-sized ID card much like your driver’s license.
Both documents can serve as proof of your patient-status, but the recommendation letter is legally all you need, and is required by all legal cannabis dispensaries upon your first visit (just having the ID card won’t suffice, but it will upon subsequent visits to the same dispensary).
A simple Google search for “medical marijuana evaluations near me” will give you a list of all (if any) medical professionals willing to give a medical marijuana recommendation in your area. A much simpler route, however, is finding an online service that provides cannabis recommendations and cards.
There are several sites on the web that do so, but not all are created equal. Some services are, of course, more reliable than others, and have deeper connections and better relationships with not only doctors, but dispensary and delivery services as well. NuggMD is one of said services that provides quality customer service and has an ever-expanding network of medical professionals and nearby cannabis dispensary partners that are willing to help you navigate the minutiae and regulations that California has in place.
Whether you decide to procure an MMJ card for medical or recreational purposes, having a card is still the only way to obtain legal, high-quality buds within the state of California. So if you’re up for the trip, below is an easy to follow step-by-step guide explaining all the steps in the process.
Keep in mind, in this article we’re forgoing altogether the option you have to visit a cannabis doctor in-person, which almost always turns out to be a much more lengthy and costly (not to mention sometimes sketchy) process as compared to the 100% legal online option.
How To See a Medical Marijuana Doctor Online:
Step 1: Paperwork as Usual (a.k.a. “Let’s just get this out of the way”)
After finding an online evaluation service that feels right, there will be an initial form to fill out, some longer than others. Services like NuggMD make this medical-history step quick and simple, and can be done from any mobile enabled device (so you can even fill out the paperwork on the 405 when you’re sitting in morning traffic).
The great thing about online services like NuggMD is that once you’ve filled out your paperwork, you’ll never have to again. It’s in the system and will make getting a medical marijuana card renewal incredibly easy.
2: The Doctor is In (Online Consultation)
After your initial paperwork has been submitted, you’ll be asked to upload a U.S. photo identification, which will be used by the doctor evaluating your situation to confirm that you’re over the age of 18. Additionally, if you opt to get a medical marijuana ID card (optional in most cases), you’ll have to upload a headshot photo of your face before being brought to the payment step.
Once your payment information has been submitted (with NuggMD, your card is only charged if you’re approved for medical cannabis), you will be connected with a certified medical professional for an online consultation.
NuggMD partners with some of the most trusted medical professionals in California to give you a consultation that is quick, thorough, and informative, all while being HIPAA compliant and only costing you a measly $39. Plus, the consultation is completely free if you aren’t approved.
This consultation generally takes under 20-minutes and can be completed at any time between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week, so you can consult with your 420 doctor before breakfast, on your lunch break, or even in-between episodes of an HBOgo marathon.
3: I’m Approved (Temporary MMJ recommendation)
If approved, you will instantly be sent a PDF with all pertinent information relating to your MMJ recommendation. This temporary electronic copy will allow you to order instantly from any cannabis delivery service found at Getnugg.com, and will likely suffice for ordering from most other cannabis delivery services in California (even ones not found on Nugg).
However, you’ll likely have to wait for the official paper copy of your recommendation to arrive in the mail before visiting a storefront dispensary, as 9/10 won’t accept the temporary digital copy.
Once you’ve received your official copy in the mail (usually after 3 or 4 days), you’ll be legally able to purchase cannabis from all the dispensaries and delivery services in California.
4: Does it come in Wallet-size? (Optional physical ID card)
Though it is not required, getting a physical medical card is the best way to allow the most freedom in your cannabis purchases. As opposed to your paper marijuana recommendation letter, a physical card is much more durable and harder to lose, since you can keep it handy at all times in the pocket of your wallet, and will afford you the same legal protections as your paper recommendation if a situation ever arises in which you’re dealing with law enforcement.
Additionally, after your first visit to a storefront dispensary, the wallet-sized ID card will be all you’ll need for subsequent visits.
5: Buying buds
Many online 420 evaluations services just help with getting your weed card, but NuggMD’s scope is all encompassing (a one-stop shop). Through its blog you can find information about dispensaries in various California cities, discussions about strains and culture, advice on how medical cannabis can be used to treat different symptoms and conditions, and suggestions for which cannabis strains and products are best for your personal needs.
Using NuggMD also gives you access to their partnered physicians that can assuage any concerns you may have about your recommendation as well as cannabis use and its impact on your body. In fact, you have instant access to live chat with a doctor or a physician’s assistant at all hours of their operation. Just use the live-chat feature found in the bottom-right hand corner of their website.
Last but not least, the service also partners with dispensaries and delivery services throughout California that offer deals for Nugg customers, and allow orders to be placed online from any internet-connected device with just a few taps. With NuggMD, buying ganja for medical (and soon, recreational) purposes has never been easier, and can all be done from the comfort of home.
Tip: if you use NuggMD to get your medical marijuana recommendation/card, you’ll be instantly credited with $20 for your first delivery order on Getnugg.com.
And that’s it, you made it! You’re now well familiar with the process to get a medical cannabis card online in California, and how to curate the best sticky-icky-icky right to your doorstep in no time!