The concept of getting a medical cannabis card seems like a fairly straight-forward process for the most part; you contact a physician or licensed medical cannabis doctor in your area, schedule an appointment, and once approved, you receive some type of documentation that allows you to buy medical cannabis. As simple as that should be, a growing number of unscrupulous doctors (or some cases, fake doctors altogether) are taking advantage of consumers and charging hundreds of dollars for counterfeit, invalid, or otherwise unusable medical cannabis recommendations.
As much as we all love cannabis and wholeheartedly support the legal industry, no one can deny that there can be some shady dealings going on in the shadows. But such is the case in any multi-billion-dollar industry, unfortunately. As a consumer in today’s world, it is very important to do your due diligence before trusting a company and buying a product, and that applies when getting a medical cannabis card as well. For more articles like this one and exclusive deals on legal THC products, make sure to subscribe to The THC Weekly Newsletter. Also save big on HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!
Getting a medical cannabis card
A medical cannabis card (or medical cannabis recommendation, as they’re often referred to), are state-issued identification documents that confirm the person carrying them has a medical condition that enables them to legally purchase, possess, and use cannabis. As regulations change and medical markets explode, the idea of paying for a medical card may seem obsolete, but there are some benefits carrying one still.
Take California, for instance, where cannabis is in fact completely legal, but as a recreational customer, you’re stuck paying up to 45% in recreational, cultivation, excise, and local taxes. Plus, your purchases are limited to one ounce of flower and eight grams of concentrate. Patients with a doctor’s recommendation can possess up to 8 ounces, or 226.8 grams, of dried cannabis or concentrates, and they’re exempt from paying all the extra taxes.
The qualifying conditions vary from state to state, and can also be at the discretion of the recommending physician. Ordinarily, the card will be valid for up to 12 months, at which point you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment for another evaluation. It used to be that you had to do a lot of searching and often, quite a bit of driving, to find a “marijuana doctor” who was willing to write these recommendations, but now, everything can be done remotely.
The process for getting a medical cannabis card can vary a bit from state to state, but overall, it’s pretty similar across the board. You can apply your through state’s medical cannabis registry and try find a physician who is willing to write you a recommendation, which can be tricky since most doctors are prohibited from prescribing or even suggesting cannabis. Or, you could pay a third-party company to do it for you. The latter can be equally complicated, because, although some companies are legit, professional, and affordable, others will issue a fake or invalid medical card at exorbitant prices.
Counterfeits running rampant
Missouri’s medical marijuana program announced late Friday that it launched an investigation after it determined that patient medical marijuana cards have been issued to applicants whose doctor paperwork was sent in with an unauthorized signature.
“It was a person/people impersonating a doctor,” Department of Health and Senior Services spokesperson Lisa Cox told the News-Leader in a text message. She said some 600 patients were affected, and that the department could not comment on who was being impersonated.
Alex Griffith, a 30-year-old retired military veteran who lives in Delhi Township, recently paid $220 for a doctor’s recommendation he hoped would allow him to use marijuana to treat his PTSD. “Marijuana helps me control my condition way better than Prozac and all those other pills doctors want to give you,” said Griffith, who suffers from bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts.
A recommendation letter from a doctor working for the Ohio Cannabis Connection, verifying the client is eligible to be treated with medical marijuana. The letter is needed to apply for a medical marijuana patient ID, but the letter alone can’t be used to purchase marijuana for a retail dispensary. The former Marine infantryman who served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 said he wants to be “first in line” when the 56 retail dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana in Ohio begin opening their doors in the coming months.
But the one-page recommendation letter he got from Dr. Trent Austin, an emergency medicine doctor in Batesville, Ind., who’s also licensed in Ohio, won’t do him much good. In Ohio, the recommendation does not stand alone, and patients need to submit their information and register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
“At some level, they’re fooling people into believing they have something that they don’t,” said Dr. William Sawyer, a Sharonville family physician and one of about 300 doctors certified by the state to recommend medical marijuana, referring to the confusion between a recommendation letters and actual ID cards in some states. “It’s unfortunate that that’s happening because it creates problems for us who are doing it correctly.”
How to avoid getting ripped off
Below are some ways to know if your medical marijuana doctor is legit;
Use a Registry
While this may not apply in all the states, some cannabis-legal states have an organized medical marijuana card issuance. For instance, Florida has a real-time database that updates and keeps track of all certified marijuana doctors authorized by the state to approve applications for any patient looking for an MMJ card online.
If you have no clue where to get a marijuana doctor or medical marijuana card near me, you can start by asking for referrals from your close contacts. As mentioned, the buzzing medical marijuana use attracted many industry players, including self-proclaimed doctors. With many doctors out there, it becomes hard to differentiate legitimate from fake doctors. Fortunately, you can get recommendations from your friends, relatives, or family members. You can also ask for referrals and read what other people think about your preferred doctor from the Marijuanadoctors.com review.
The cost of the marijuana doctor is another essential guiding factor. Essentially, any physician who charges less than $50 may not be offering legitimate services. Your best bet is to compare rates from different clinics. The charges of all clinics should be within a given range. If one clinic’s charges are extremely low, chances are you can get a fake card. On the other hand, if the costs are way up, you might be exploited to get a card that should cost less.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.