Maryland has an established medical marijuana program, although recreational cannabis is not yet legal.
In May 2013, Governor O’Malley signed legislation that established an MMJ program in the state. The Maryland Legislature approved HB 881 in April 2014. This allowed for the creation of an MMJ infrastructure. However, the state delayed the program for over three years.
Finally, Maryland’s medical marijuana program became operational in December 2017. Over 8,500 patients were certified to purchase cannabis for medicinal purposes in Maryland at that time. Within a year, however, the figure swelled to 51,000!
Also, the state decriminalized possession of 10 grams or less in 2014. It was a necessary step because Maryland had the fifth-highest marijuana possession arrest rate in America at that time.
Although adult-use cannabis isn’t yet a reality, there is the possibility of a referendum on the subject occurring in 2022. For now, the only way to get marijuana in Maryland is via an MMJ card. Here’s how to get yours.
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How to Get a Maryland Medical Marijuana Card
Unlike many state marijuana programs, you need to register as a patient in Maryland before you even see a physician. You can register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) online. You must have one of the qualifying medical conditions (which we outline below). Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your Maryland MMJ card.
All patients must purchase a medical cannabis ID card at the time of registration and show it when buying cannabis.
Up until January 1, 2019, you only required a patient ID number and a government-issued ID to get marijuana from a Maryland dispensary. However, the MMCC then decided that all patients must purchase a medical cannabis ID card at the time of registration. Moreover, the MMCC agreed that from April 1, 2019, all patients had to show their medical marijuana ID cards when buying cannabis at a dispensary.
Step 1 – Gather Your Personal Information
Before going to the MMCC website, you will need specific information to proceed, this includes:
- The last four digits of your Social Security Number.
- A valid email account that you will use to apply for your MMJ card.
- An electronic copy of a U.S. Government-issued photo ID. Acceptable IDs include passport, military ID, Motor Vehicle Administration ID card, or a driver’s license.
- Proof of your address in Maryland. You need two documents. Options include a utility bill, property tax bill, bank account statement, or car insurance policy.
- An electronic copy of a clear photograph taken within the previous six months. If you are a hospice patient, you can get a letter from the Attending of Hospice on Record instead of a recent photo.
Step 2 – Register with the MMCC
Once you have all the requisite information, go to the official MMCC Registry website and click ‘Create Account’ under the ‘Patients’ heading. The application involves answering questions, including:
- Are you under the age of 18?
- Are you in hospice care?
You don’t need to provide any medical records at this stage. Once you complete and submit the application, you will receive a verification email. Click on the link to ensure your account becomes verified. Your registration is valid for two years.
Step 3 – Play the Waiting Game
Now, you have to wait for the MMCC to review your application. We have heard of patients receiving a follow-up email in five days. However, a lot of people must wait for the full 45-day period. If you don’t get a follow-up email within that time frame, you need to phone them or send another email. We recommend calling them.
Step 4 – Get Your Written Certification from a Physician Registered by the MMCC
The follow-up email sent by the MMCC contains a patient ID number. Now, you can visit an MMCC registered physician to receive the valid written certification you need to buy medical marijuana in Maryland. You can’t use your family doctor if they aren’t on the list. However, there are hundreds of healthcare providers to choose from.
One possible issue is that you need to have a ‘bona fide’ provider-patient relationship with the provider. However, it isn’t challenging to find a registered provider willing to give you the written certification you require.
Step 5 – Get Your Marijuana at a Dispensary!
Once you have received a valid written certification from a registered provider, you can visit a licensed dispensary in Maryland to purchase your marijuana. When you visit one of these dispensaries, you must present your MMCC ID Card. The seller will verify your certification before allowing you to complete the purchase.
If you get certified but fail to purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary within 120 days, the certification will expire. If this happens, you will need to obtain a brand new one.
What Are the Maryland Medical Marijuana Costs?
You need to pay an initial fee of $50 to create an account with the MMCC; this fee is non-refundable. The fee charged by physicians varies, but the average in Maryland is around $200. If you want a physical patient ID card, the cost is $50. For minor patients, a caregiver ID card is also $50.
It is also $50 when you want to renew, but the renewal registration lasts for three years. That option became available on March 1, 2019, and offers excellent value for money.
Renewing is easy; go to the MMCC landing page and log into your account. Click on ‘Renew Registration,’ answer a few questions, and update your address if necessary. The MMCC will review it and provide you with approval via email.
What Conditions Qualify for a Maryland Medical Marijuana Card?
Here is a list of qualifying medical conditions in Maryland:
- Chronic or severe pain
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
- Wasting syndrome
- Severe nausea
- Any other chronic and severe medical condition where other treatments have proved ineffective
Other Information on the Maryland Medical Marijuana Process
Here are the answers to some common questions about the Maryland medical marijuana program.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy and Possess?
Qualified patients can purchase up to 120 grams of dried cannabis every 30 days and can possess this amount as a maximum. However, you could gain a larger allowance if you receive a special determination from a doctor who says you need more. MMJ cardholders can also buy and possess up to 36 grams of THC cannabis extract. Incidentally, Maryland dispensaries do not sell cannabis edibles.
Can I Grow Marijuana at Home?
At present, the state of Maryland does not allow patients to cultivate cannabis at home.
Where Can I Buy MMJ in Maryland?
Click here to find a list of licensed dispensaries – there are over 100 at the time of writing.
Where Can I Use Medical Marijuana in Maryland?
MMJ cardholders can only consume cannabis in a private residence. It is illegal to use it in public, and you aren’t even allowed to ride a bicycle under the influence of marijuana.
What Are the Rules Relating to Caregivers?
You can appoint a caregiver, and they apply via the Commission’s Caregiver Registry. You can only nominate someone aged 21+, and they are allowed to provide care for a maximum of five patients. Caregivers must register with the MMCC and purchase ID cards from the Commission before buying cannabis from any dispensary. A caregiver’s registration is valid for two years.
Can Minors Apply for an MMJ Card?
You can apply for an MMJ card in Maryland if you are a minor. However, you need at least one caregiver assigned to you at all times. This individual must be a parent or legal guardian who is 21+ years of age. You must complete additional forms registering a minor patient, and one of these forms must be notarized.
Does Maryland Have MMJ Card Reciprocity?
No. It was once possible to obtain medical marijuana in the state of Maryland if you were a non-resident. You needed to follow the same steps as residents. During the application process, you had to provide the name and address of a medical facility within the state where you were receiving treatment.
At the time, this seemed like fantastic news since Maryland is home to some world-class medical centers like Johns Hopkins. However, as of December 2017, the MMCC decided to extend its administrative hold on non-residents until further notice. As a result, applications from non-Maryland residents are no longer under consideration.
The sheer number of Maryland residents seeking medical marijuana meant that the program was stretched too thin for reciprocity.
The administrative hold began in October 2017 and was supposed to only last for 60 days. Presumably, the sheer number of Maryland residents seeking medical marijuana meant that the program was already stretched too thin. Remember, the number of patients increased six-fold within a year.
Final Thoughts on Getting a Maryland Medical Marijuana Card
The Maryland MMJ program is well-established, and getting approved is easier than a couple of years ago. The maximum purchase amount is reasonably generous and should prove enough for the vast majority of patients.
Although recreational cannabis isn’t legal at present, it seems likely that lawmakers will submit a bill in 2022. Whether it can overcome its opposition is another matter entirely.
Need a Medical Marijuana Card?
Let us help by Starting Here