It’s no secret that cannabis is legal in Colorado and recreational marijuana is all anyone wants to talk about. Any adult over 21 with a valid ID can walk into any dispensary in town and buy recreational cannabis, making it extremely accessible for the thousands of retail cannabis customers that live and visit Colorado.
Now that recreational cannabis is legal, Colorado’s medical marijuana program gets less attention. Some people are even surprised to find out that they can still get a Colorado MMJ card. They are even more surprised to find out that there are distinct rules for medical marijuana patients.
How To Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado
Getting a Colorado medical card is easier and cheaper than you might think. The state recently moved from a mail-in application and check payment system to a new and more modern system done completely online, making it easier than ever.
Here is an outline of all the steps you need to successfully get your marijuana card in Colorado. If you go the electronic route, most applications are confirmed or denied in 1-3 business days.
Check Your Eligibility
To even be considered for a medical card in Colorado, you must be a legal resident of the state and over the age of 18. Minors are granted Colorado medical cannabis cards, but only if they have a qualifying condition and a caregiver that’s a legal resident of Colorado.
You must have one of the listed qualifying medical conditions granted by the state’s marijuana laws. These medical conditions include: Glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Cachexia, persistent muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, severe pain, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Create Your Medical Marijuana Patient Account
Thankfully, the state of Colorado has moved away from a completely mail-in medical marijuana application and payment system. While mail-in applications are still available, that process takes 6-8 weeks and can be cumbersome.
The new application system is completely online and you can pay using your credit or debit card. Create your account by visiting the state’s medical marijuana patient application site. Choose “new user” to begin a new application. Next, enter your patient information.
You will receive an email with your username and temporary password that you can use to log into the portal. After logging in the first time, you can personalize your password.
Get Your Physician Certification
The most cumbersome part of the entire medical card application process is getting your physician certification. A physician certification is just a stamp of approval by a registered physician in the area certifying that you have a qualifying medical condition that could be helped by medical marijuana.
To get your physician certification, the first step is to look at Buddy Boy’s list of licensed physicians in the Denver area. If you live outside of the Denver metro area, a quick google search for medical marijuana evaluations will return a list of providers near you. Be aware: some providers do not allow scheduled appointments and can have long wait times. If you want to avoid a wait, be sure to confirm that the physician accepts reservations.
Whenever you choose a provider, give them a call or look at their website to determine whether they need additional paperwork before you arrive. Also be sure to ask about the cost and whether they accept cash or card.
Your physician will upload the certification online and it will be made available in your portal. Always request for a printed copy for your own records.
Upload Your Physician Certification To Your Application
Once you get your physician certification, log back into the medical marijuana application portal using your username and password. Click the “Physician Certification” tab, then “new”. Choose your physician certification in the dropdown menu and click “save”.
Choose Cultivation or Dispensary
In Colorado, medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow more cannabis plants at home and buy more cannabis products at dispensaries than recreational users (more on that below). When applying, you will need to choose whether you plan to grow your own, allow a caretaker to grow your plants, or purchase marijuana products from a dispensary.
Pay The Fee & Wait For Approval
The cost to submit your Colorado med card application is $15. This charge is separate from the cost of your physician certification. If you are applying online, you can pay by debit, credit, or electronic check. If you are applying for your medical marijuana card by mail, you can pay by check or money order. Make your check payable to CDPHE and send to the following address:
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
Perks of Having A Colorado Medical Marijuana Card
There are some important allowances for medical marijuana patients that recreational buyers do not receive. These allowances include the following:
Lower taxes on marijuana purchases
Retail customers are subject to a 2.9% state sales tax, local sales tax (differs by locality), and a 10% state marijuana sales tax. In contrast, medical marijuana patients are subject to the same 2.9% state sales tax and local taxes, but they are not subject to the 10% state marijuana tax.
Access to medical-only counters and dispensaries
Many dispensaries, like Buddy Boy, have medical-only counters as well as retail counters. Medical counters typically have expedited lines and access to more robust product options and strains.
Access to higher potency edibles
Retail cannabis buyers can only purchase edibles with a 10mg THC potency per piece, with a maximum of 100mg per package. Medical marijuana patients have access to much higher potency edibles
Ability to purchase and grow more marijuana
Medical marijuana patients are able to grow (or assign a caretaker to grow) up to 12 plants in most jurisdictions and up to 16 in others. Medical marijuana patients are also able to purchase two ounces of cannabis at a time, in contrast to retail buyers who are only able to purchase one ounce.