How do I register as a patient or caregiver? How can I obtain an ID card?
A patient can register as a qualifying patient on this website when the Patient Registry opens during the first quarter of 2017. The Patient Registry is not yet open. Once you receive your patient number (obtained only through the Commission’s website), the patient’s registered physician can link to the patient by entering the patient’s Commission-assigned number on the Commission’s secure database, and then issue an online certification for medical cannabis. Patients can then obtain medical cannabis at any licensed Dispensary in Maryland by presenting their ID card or a valid government-issued ID. Patient ID cards can only be obtained through the Commission’s Patient Registry, which will open in the first quarter of 2017.
Does a patient need an ID card from MMCC?
No, a patient does not need an ID card from MMCC to participate in the program. The patient must be registered with MMCC in order for a physician to provide a written certification for the patient. The patient will need a government-issued ID card (e.g., driver’s license or passport) for proof of identity when purchasing the medical cannabis at a licensed dispensary.
When can I get medical cannabis?
The Commission anticipates that medical cannabis will be available to patients from a licensed dispensary sometime during Summer 2017.
Where can I obtain medical cannabis?
A Maryland patient can only obtain legal medical cannabis from Maryland-licensed dispensaries. The dispensaries can only obtain their cannabis from Maryland-licensed growers, and their extracts from Maryland-licensed processors.
Do I need to go to a special clinic to get a medical cannabis card?
No. Any licensed physician in good standing in Maryland can register with the Medical Cannabis Commission to issue certifications to qualify patients to obtain and use medical cannabis. Ask your primary care physician if she or he is registered, and discuss whether medical cannabis would benefit your medical condition.There is no need to pay any person or organization any fee other than the fee your physician charges for the doctor visit.
How do I become a legal patient?
The Patient Registry will open during the first quarter of 2017. Once registered, a patient will go to a doctor who has registered with the Commission to obtain a “written certification.”
How do I get a “written certification”?
A patient needs an in-person visit with a registered physician with whom the patient has a “bona fide physician-patient relationship.” If the patient meets the physician’s criteria for treatment with medical cannabis, the physician will issue a written certification. The physician records the written certification in the Commission’s database.
What is a “bona fide physician-patient relationship?”
Maryland law defines this term. Essentially it is a treatment or counseling relationship between a physician and patient in which the physician reviews the patient’s relevant medical records, completes an in-person assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, creates and maintains medically standardized records, expects to monitor patient program, and takes any medically indicated action to follow up.
What do I do after I get the “written certification?”
The patient can go to any licensed dispensary to pick up medical cannabis. Some dispensaries will deliver medical cannabis to the patient’s home. The dispensary must check the Commission’s secure database to confirm that the patient has a “written certification” and confirm the patient’s identity. The dispensary will record how much medical cannabis has been dispensed to the patient.
How long will it take to obtain a written certification?
After the doctor has examined the patient and the patient’s records, the physician may issue the patient a written certification.
Will there be a list of physicians who can issue written certifications for medical cannabis?
The Commission will not be posting a list on its website.
How will patient confidentiality be assured?
Federal law (HIPAA) requires that we — along with physicians and dispensaries — protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Our database will meet HIPAA standards and protect patient confidentiality.
For what conditions or diseases can my physician write a written certification?
Any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of Cannabis. In addition, if the patient has a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes severe loss of appetite, wasting, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms, or glaucoma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I am traveling and I want an ID card. Can I obtain one?
Yes, a patient ID card is optional. A patient ID card will cost $50.
Where can I legally travel with medical cannabis?
A legal patient may travel to any location in the state of Maryland. Maryland cannot authorize you to travel to other states or countries. Possession of cannabis is against federal law and Maryland residents should be aware that taking cannabis across State lines is a federal offense.
How do I apply for a patient ID card?
You can request an ID card when you receive your written certification or apply for one later.
I lost my patient ID card, or it was stolen or damaged
There will be a process to apply for a replacement card. A replacement card will cost $100.
How much medical cannabis (dried flower) can a qualifying patient possess at one time?
No more than 120 grams — or approximately four ounces, unless a physician makes a special determination that a patient needs more.
Is there a maximum amount of THC in an extract that a patient can get in a month?
Yes, 36 grams of THC.
Will cannabis oil be considered a type of medical cannabis?
Yes, if the cannabis oil is produced by a Maryland-licensed processor.
I want to become a caregiver. How can I become one?
Caregivers are only appointed by patients. If a patient selects you to be a caregiver, you must register through the Commission’s caregiver registry, which will open during the first quarter of 2017. Caregivers cannot care for more than five qualifying patients.
How many caregivers can one patient have?
A patient may designate up to two persons as caregivers.
What is the minimum age for a caregiver?
Caregivers must be 21 years old or older.
Can a caregiver be a family member?
Yes, a caregiver may be a family member.
Can patients cultivate their own cannabis? Can a caregiver cultivate cannabis for patients?
No, Maryland law does not allow this.
My child needs medical cannabis. Can he or she get it legally?
Children who meet their physician’s criteria for treatment can become legal patients in Maryland. However, children must have a parent or guardian serve as a caregiver.
Can veterans get medical cannabis?
Veterans can obtain medical cannabis in the same way as other patients, but not from the Veterans Affairs health system. Veterans need to make sure that using medical cannabis will not disqualify them from Veterans Affairs health system procedures they might need.
Is there financial relief for patients who can’t afford medical cannabis?
Providing any financial relief for patients will be a decision made by individual dispensaries.
What if a qualifying patient changes their mailing address?
The patient who changes their address should notify the Commission within 3 days.
What if I want to obtain medical cannabis from a different dispensary?
A patient may obtain medical cannabis from a dispensary of their choice. The patient’s written certification will be recorded in the Commission’s database and can be confirmed by any licensed dispensary.
What happens if I am stopped by law enforcement?
Patients do not have to disclose that they possess medical cannabis and do not have to consent to a search. However, if a search is conducted and medical cannabis is found, the patient should present their patient ID card or direct law enforcement to our database.
I don’t want to smoke cannabis. Will edible medical cannabis products be available in Maryland?
Medical cannabis will be available in forms which can be vaporized which is not smoking, or as extracts, lotions, ointments, tinctures, etc. Some extracts can be added to foods at home. Edible cannabis products will not be available from dispensaries in Maryland.
Will health insurers cover the cost of medical cannabis?
Health insurers are not required to cover the cost of medical cannabis. Private health insurers are free under Maryland law to develop policies that will cover medical cannabis.
What fees do patients have to pay the Commission to get medical cannabis?
There are no fees unless a qualifying patient requests an ID card. Patients do not have to pay the Commission to register. Dispensaries do not have to pay the Commission to check that a patient has been issued a written certification.
Are there special reduced fees for seniors?
There are no reduced fees for seniors.
Is there a residency requirement to participate in the medical cannabis program?
Any person who lives in Maryland can participate in the program. A person from out-of-state who is in the state for the purpose of receiving medical care can be issued a written certification and obtain medical cannabis.
Will Maryland dispensaries recognize other state medical cannabis ID cards?
Not at this time.
Can you provide me with information on replacing opioids with medical cannabis for treatment of chronic pain?
That is a medical question that the Commission cannot answer. You will need to discuss this question with your physician.
My employer tests for drug use including cannabis. Can they test me if I am a medical cannabis patient? Can they fire me if I use medical cannabis?
Maryland law does not prevent an employer from testing for use of cannabis (for any reason) or taking action against an employee who tests positive for use of cannabis (for any reason).
Are there drugs that are known to interact with medical cannabis for which my physician would exclude my qualification in the program?
This is a question for your physician.
My primary care physician does not think that medical cannabis is a good idea, but I think it has benefited my condition. What can I do?
Patients often seek a second opinion from another physician. Patients may have a complex medical condition that is not responding well to conventional treatment or find the side effects and risks of a treatment are unacceptable. A patient may establish a bona fide physician patient relationship with any licensed Maryland physician who is in good standing, who is or plans to register with the Medical Cannabis Commission in order to be evaluated to determine if the patient will benefit from the use of medical cannabis.
Are the Physician registry and Patient registry linked?
Yes, the Commission’s database system does link the physician and patient registries through the written certifications. Each patient may only have one written certification and one certifying physician at a time. After 30 days, a patient may seek renewal of the written certification; the renewal certification supersedes the previous written certification. A certifying physician may terminate a written certification.
Does the physician have to be registered as a certifying physician before the patient visit in order to provide a written certification for the patient?
A physician must be registered as a certifying physician before providing a qualifying patient with a written certification.
Does the patient need to be registered before the patient visit in order to obtain a written certification for the patient?
Yes, a qualifying patient will receive a Commission-assigned patient number after registering through the Commission’s patient registry, which will open in the first quarter of 2017. The patient’s registered physician can then link to the patient by entering the patient’s assigned number on the Commission’s secure database, and issue an online certification for medical cannabis.
When will edibles and/or additional conditions be added to the regulations?
Edibles and additional medical conditions may be added at a later date, pending enactment of new legislation and regulations.
Before a patient can receive medical cannabis at a dispensary, the patient has to sign a statement (“attest”) that the patient understands, among other things, that “scientific research has not established the safety of the use of medical cannabis by pregnant women,” and that the use of medical cannabis is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Are these warning adequate, especially the warning regarding the question of the safety of the use of medical cannabis by pregnant women?
Yes, the Commission believes that these statements will reinforce the need for caution to protect against the misuse of medical cannabis obtained from Maryland dispensaries. The Commission reviewed the studies that have been published regarding cannabis use and pregnancy and determined that this warning is an accurate statement of the conclusions that can be made from the scientific evidence, and is sufficient to guide patients to be cautious.