CONSULTATION FEE RANGE
- $50 – $150
MMJ PURCHASING LIMITS
- UP TO THREE OUNCES OF USABLE CANNABIS
MINIMUM AGE LIMIT
Washington state has always been among the frontrunners in marijuana legalization. In November 1998, it followed the lead of California by permitting MMJ via I-692. Voters in the state approved the use of medical cannabis by individuals with certain debilitating or terminal conditions. I-692 also provided “affirmative defense” against criminal prosecution as long as a qualifying patient had a maximum 60-day supply.
The Washington state MMJ program expanded throughout the years, but November 2012 saw a massive moment for cannabis lovers as voters approved an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.
Now that adult-use cannabis is permitted in Washington, why would anyone want an MMJ card? First and foremost, MMJ cardholders can buy a far greater amount of weed per visit. You have greater cultivation rights and a wider selection of products. There is also the possibility of joining a “grower’s collective.” If all of the above sounds good, keep reading to discover how to get a WA medical card.
Washington Medical Marijuana Laws
Adults aged 21+ are permitted to buy and possess up to one ounce of marijuana legally.
Interestingly, there is a fine line between being charged with a misdemeanor and a felony for weed possession in Washington. The possession of over an ounce and up to 40 grams is a misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of a day. However, if caught with over 40 grams, you can be charged with a felony and may spend up to five years in jail!
The illegal sale of any amount of weed is also a felony with a potential prison sentence of five years. A similar punishment waits for growing any amount of weed. However, if you have an MMJ card, you CAN grow marijuana. If this sounds interesting, read on to discover how to get your card in WA.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Washington
Before applying, please ensure you have one of the following forms of ID:
- Washington State ID
- Out of State ID
- Another form of photo ID with proof of residency, such as a utility bill or bank statement
Now, let’s go through the steps required to get an MMJ card in Washington State.
Step 1 – Get in Touch with a WA Healthcare Provider
Unlike most MMJ programs, Washington allows many clinicians to write a medical marijuana card evaluation. Aside from a medical doctor (MD), one of the following types of medical professional can help you:
- Osteopathic Physician (DO)
- Physician Assistant (PA)
- Naturopathic Physician
- Osteopathic Physician Assistant (DOA)
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)
However, despite full legalization being in effect, there are areas of Washington where it is notoriously tough to gain a recommendation.
Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation
When you find a willing clinician, bring your medical records. In many cases, patients must complete a screening process where they are asked various questions. Only then can they return to the doctor for a full evaluation. You can expect the doctor to ask further questions on why you think MMJ is essential for your condition.
If the clinician is satisfied that you are eligible, they will provide you with a signed Medical Marijuana Authorization Form.
Step 3 – Schedule an Appointment with a Medically Licensed Retail Store
Do not mail, fax, or email your form to Washington’s Department of Health. Patients seeking an MMJ card should set an appointment with a medically licensed retail store. Each store must have a certified medical marijuana consultant on duty who has completed a 20-hour training program. They are not medical providers and can only help with the following:
- Entering patient and provider information from the form into an MMJ database
- Creating the MMJ card
- Helping patients choose the right products for their condition
- Providing advice on how to store cannabis products safely away from children and pets
- Showing patients how to use products correctly
- Answering questions about the state’s MMJ laws
After setting the date, the patient must bring proof of identification and the authorization form.
Once a patient proves identity and produces a valid authorization form, the approved retailer will add the patient to a database. This database includes information from the authorization form and is used to generate the medical marijuana card. The provider will print and laminate the MMJ card. Finally, they return the authorization, identification, and card to the patient. Now, it is possible to buy medical marijuana in Washington state!
Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in WA?
Only residents of Washington state aged 18+ can apply for a medical marijuana card in WA. You also need to have one of the qualifying medical conditions, which we outline later.
Cost of MMJ Card in WA
The medical marijuana card cost in WA does not involve an application fee to a state program. However, most stores charge a fee of $1-$5 to register patients in the database.
Also, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for the practitioner appointment. Incidentally, you don’t need to register if you’re 18+; it is solely voluntary. However, registration is recommended because it provides a host of benefits, including:
- Buying and possessing more cannabis
- An exemption from paying sales tax
- Purchase of higher-THC products
- Permission to grow plants
- Registration in an MMJ collective, if desired
WA MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions
Applicants must have one of the following WA medical marijuana card qualifying conditions to receive approval:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Seizure or spasticity disorders
- Intractable pain
- Crohn’s disease (the disorder must have debilitating symptoms)
- Hepatitis C
- Anorexia or other wasting diseases
- Symptoms following chronic renal failure with hemodialysis
- Traumatic brain injury
How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in WA?
Unlike most other states, there is no lengthy waiting period. As soon as you receive certification from the doctor, you can book your appointment with the medically-endorsed store. The store gives you the MMJ card, which you can use to buy medical marijuana.
How Do I Renew My Washington Medical Card?
You can renew your MMJ card in Washington by scheduling an appointment with your current practitioner. With your renewed authorization, the next step is to get in touch with a medically-endorsed retail store and book an appointment with a certified consultant. Remember, your card is only valid for 12 months.
Other Information on the WA Medical Marijuana License Process
Keep reading to learn the answers to several FAQs regarding MMJ in Washington state.
What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in WA?
Like most states that permit recreational marijuana, licensed dispensaries in Washington sell a wide array of products, including flower, vaporizing oil, topicals, extracts, pre-rolls, edibles, and tinctures.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in WA Online
Initially, you need to visit a doctor in person to get your MMJ card. However, your doctor may indicate that you are eligible for compassionate care renewal if they believe an in-person visit would cause you hardship. It enables you to have your authorization renewed via telemedicine.
Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in WA?
Yes. However, patients aged 17 or younger legally require a parent or legal guardian to act as a designated provider. Furthermore, the MMJ card is only valid for six months if you are a minor.
Patients under 18 are required to register in the state database. Those aged 18-20 also must register and have an MMJ card when looking to buy cannabis in a medically-endorsed store.
Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Washington?
There are now over 1,000 dispensaries in Washington, so you’re unlikely ever to be far from one. Also, the Department of Health has a list of medically-endorsed retail stores you can choose from.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
The purchasing and possession limits for MMJ cardholders in Washington are very generous. Here are the maximum limits:
- Three ounces of usable cannabis
- 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
- 21 grams of cannabis concentrate
- 216 fluid ounces of cannabis-infused products in liquid form
However, please note that these are the limits for patients who are entered into the Washington medical cannabis database. Also, the above is the maximum amount when you combine the consumption methods. Therefore, you can’t purchase anything else if you buy three ounces of flower, for instance.
Can You Grow Marijuana in Washington with a Medical Marijuana Card?
Yes. One of the big advantages of having an MMJ card is home cultivation. You can grow up to six plants for medical use and hold up to eight ounces of usable weed from those plants. If your physician decides you need more to treat your condition, you can grow up to 15 plants and possess 16 ounces of weed from them.
Patients not in the database can only cultivate four plants and possess up to six ounces of usable cannabis from their plants. They can also only purchase the same amount of weed as recreational users.
MMJ patients can also pool resources and grow more cannabis in a grower’s cooperative. Each cooperative can have four patients, and each individual can grow a maximum of 15 plants. Therefore, the maximum number of plants in a communal garden is 60. Only individuals aged 21+ can join this group. Here are other rules relating to the cooperative:
- Members can only remain in one cooperative at a time
- It must be located at a member’s house, enclosed by an eight-foot fence, and difficult to see or smell if growing outdoors
- It must not operate within a mile of a cannabis retailer
- It must not operate within 1,000 feet of certain facilities, including playgrounds and schools
All on-site growth requires a permit. There may be restrictions against cooperative and joint gardens depending on the county. Growers must check local laws and legislation.
What’s interesting is that technically, medical marijuana cardholders who aren’t part of the state’s registry are subject to arrest in certain situations. House Bill 1563 will change all that as it guarantees that anyone with MMJ authorization can’t be arrested. However, patients must wait until the governor signs the bill into law.
Where Can I Use My MMJ?
You can only consume medical marijuana in your private residence or private space.
Does Washington State Accept Out-of-State MMJ Cards?
No. Out-of-state MMJ patients cannot purchase cannabis using their cards. You need to go through the same process as residents of Washington. Of course, you can buy up to an ounce without a card if aged 21+.
What Are the Caregiver Rules?
Also known as a designated provider, a caregiver is an individual aged 21+ who acts on behalf of a qualified MMJ patient. In Washington state, patients can choose such an individual to purchase cannabis products or grow plants. A caregiver is only allowed to help one patient at a time.
What If I Lose My Medical Card in Washington?
If you lose your MMJ card in Washington, contact the doctor that provided the certification and the retail store that gave you the card and ask for a replacement.
When Did Medical Marijuana in Washington Become Legal?
Washington was among the first states to initiate an MMJ program when its voters approved I-692 in 1998. The state became the first in America to legalize recreational marijuana when voters approved Initiative 502 in December 2012. I-502 allows adults aged 21+ to buy up to an ounce of cannabis in Washington. The state legalized adult weed about three hours before Colorado and was also the first American state to begin recreational sales.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Seattle
Seattle is filled with doctors willing to provide certification. There are also plenty of retail stores and dispensaries throughout the area. Therefore, Seattle residents will have no problem getting an MMJ card if eligible.
MMJ Card for Veterans in WA
You may find that some clinics offer military discounts for doctor consultations. As intractable pain and PTSD are among the qualifying conditions, there’s a strong chance that veterans are eligible for MMJ in Washington state.
Final Thoughts on Getting a Washington Medical Marijuana Card
Washington’s medical marijuana card program is among the oldest in the country. Instead of applying online via a state portal, you must schedule an appointment with a special medically approved retail store after receiving a doctor’s certification. From there, you receive your MMJ card and can start buying weed from one of the 1,000+ dispensaries in the state.
Recreational marijuana is also available, but with a medical marijuana card in Washington state, you can purchase and possess a higher amount, and only MMJ cardholders can grow weed.