Many perfectly qualified patients in need of medical marijuana today are unable to do so, even when they live in a medical marijuana state. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case:
- They may not have a doctor.
- Their doctor may be overbooked, too expensive, or located too far away.
- Their doctor may be unable or unwilling to recommend medical marijuana.
- They may be uncomfortable asking their doctor for a medical marijuana recommendation or not want their doctor to know they use medical marijuana.
- They may be uncomfortable leaving their homes during the COVID scare.
Fortunately, there are now ways patients in many states, like Ohio, Utah, and Arizona can get their medical marijuana cards online using telehealth. These and other states have passed laws allowing patients to use telehealth services for the medical marijuana evaluation and recommendation they need to get a medical marijuana card.
Different Medical Marijuana Laws in Different States
In some states, these laws are actually temporary suspensions of prohibitions on using telehealth for those very purposes while the COVID emergency remains; other states have made their laws allowing telehealth for medical marijuana cards permanent.
Moreover, the procedures for getting a medical marijuana card, whether through telehealth or not, while similar, are not always identical. For example, some states require doctors to submit a patient’s recommendation and application to the state medical marijuana authority on the patient’s behalf; other states have the doctor give the recommendation to the patient, who must then submit it with their application themselves.
In addition, some states allow any doctor licensed to practice medicine in the state to recommend medical marijuana to patients, while other states require the doctor be Certified to Recommend (CTR) medical marijuana. And, some states allow only physicians to provide medical marijuana recommendations to patients, while other states also allow nurse practitioners and certain other health care professionals to provide one.
What’s more, all states have a different list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, different fees, and different renewal requirements.
Therefore, the first way doctors and dispensaries can help patients who want to get their medical marijuana card is to direct them to the website of the medical marijuana authority in the state, often the state Department of Health, to familiarize themselves with the specific medical marijuana laws in their state.
If you’re unfamiliar with your state’s medical marijuana rules and regulations yourself, you too can check these resources to educate yourself about them.
Once you and the patients are fully informed about medical marijuana in your state, you can help the patients obtain their medical marijuana cards in different ways depending on whether you’re a doctor or dispensary staff.
How Doctors Can Help Patients Get Their Medical Marijuana Card Online
If you’re a doctor, you can join a service offering telehealth for medical marijuana recommendations in your state. Then, you can start providing medical marijuana evaluations and recommendations remotely yourself.
Let’s look at the requirements for a doctor to recommend medical marijuana in some popular medical marijuana states.
Physician Requirements in Utah
In Utah, you must be a Qualified Medical Provider (QMP) in order to recommend medical marijuana to patients. To qualify to be a QMP, you must have a license to practice in Utah as one of the following types of healthcare providers:
- Physician (MD or DO)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- Physician’s Assistant licensed to prescribe controlled substances
You must also be approved by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to recommend medical marijuana in Utah to your patients. To receive this approval and register through the Electronic Verification System (EVS) as a QMP, you must complete the following steps:
- Finish four hours of UDOH-approved medical marijuana continuing education.
- Read the EVS user guide and submit an application through the system for your QMP medical marijuana card.
- Pay the required fee of $100 for your initial QMP card and $50 for each two-year renewal.
- Wait up to 15 days for UDOH approval and receive a copy of your QMP medical marijuana card via email.
At this point, you may begin issuing medical marijuana recommendations to your patients.
Physician Requirements in Ohio
To recommend medical marijuana in Ohio, you must be a physician with a full, unrestricted license to practice medicine in Ohio with an active Certificate to Recommend (CTR) medical marijuana issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio. To receive a certificate to recommend, you must complete a two-hour OOA-approved or OSMA-approved course on the topic. There is no fee to get a CTR.
Physician Requirements in Arizona
In Arizona, any licensed physician in the state (MD or DO) can recommend medical marijuana to patients in Arizona. You must simply be sure to have:
- Diagnosed or confirmed a diagnosis of a debilitating medical condition listed in Arizona medical marijuana law as qualifying for medical marijuana.
- Created and continue to maintain medical records for the patient.
- Examined the patient relevant to their qualifying condition within the past 90 days.
- Reviewed the prior 12 months of medical records of the patient, whether from you exclusively or previous physicians as well, including the patient’s response to conventional medicines and therapies and their profile on the AZ Board of Pharmacy Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Database.
- Discussed the potential benefits and risks of medical marijuana treatment for their condition.
- Disclosed any personal relationship with any dispensary to which you specifically refer a patient.
- Attested that, in your professional opinion, the patient is likely to benefit therapeutically or palliatively from their use of medical marijuana to treat their condition
How Dispensaries Can Help Patients Get Their Medical Marijuana Card Online
If you run a medical marijuana dispensary, you can help patients in need of medical marijuana to get their MMJ card by directing them where to get one online. This way, they don’t have to leave their home until they’re ready to visit you and purchase their medical marijuana.
Depending on the state in which you operate, patients can get their medical marijuana card online using different services employing telehealth to facilitate the needed medical evaluation and resulting doctor’s recommendation for a medical marijuana card.
Telehealth Services for Medical Marijuana Cards
Some of the top services for getting your medical marijuana card online in different medical marijuana states are:
Arizona – Affordablecertification.com
Ohio – mmjcard4less.com
Utah – compassionatedocs.com
How Patients Can Use Telehealth Services to Get Their Medical Marijuana Card Online
The procedures for getting your medical marijuana card online are similar for all three services, and all as simple as can be. Simply sign up for the service, have your evaluation, get your recommendation, submit your application, and get your card.
A more detailed explanation of these steps now follows:
- Sign up with the online medical marijuana card service serving your state.
- Answer a few basic questions, like name, address, date of birth, and qualifying condition.
- Pay the fee for the doctor’s appointment. (This fee is fully refundable if the doctor decides you don’t qualify for a medical marijuana card.)
- Schedule a telehealth appointment with the doctor.
- Attend your appointment over a video call.
- Get your medical marijuana recommendation.
- Submit your medical marijuana card application to the government medical marijuana authority in your state. Depending on your state, you’ll either do this yourself or your medical marijuana doctor must do it for you. Your application will invariably include proof of ID issued by the state or federal government containing a photo of you, your birthdate, and an in-state address.
- Pay the necessary state fee. This fee varies from state to state, though most states offer a discounted fee for people on SNAP or food stamps or who qualify as indigent or low-income by state standards and/or veterans.
- Register with your state’s medical marijuana program, if your state has one and requires registration.
- Receive your medical marijuana card. Either a digital card emailed to you to print out or show on your smartphone or tablet; or a physical card sent to you in the mail. (If your state issues digital medical marijuana cards, and you prefer a printed card but lack the means to do so, your online medical marijuana service may be willing to print it out for you for a small extra fee).