If you are one of the fortunate individuals who have managed to obtain a medical marijuana card and need a renewal, you’ve come to the right place. This definitive guide covers all you need to know about the process of renewing your medical marijuana card.
Why Do You Need to Renew Your Medical Marijuana Card?
In most states, medical marijuana cards are valid for one year. This is due to many different reasons, but the primary one is the medical aspect.
MMJ programs in most states want to ensure that medical marijuana is used responsibly and in ways consistent with the patient’s specific medical condition. If the patient’s condition improves, then the authorizing party may or may not renew the card. The evaluation of the renewal process is not a cut-and-dry situation. Instead, it is a process to judge whether or not medical marijuana is still a necessity.
How Often Do I Have to Renew My Medical Marijuana Card?
As of now, a medical marijuana renewal is required every 12 months in the majority of states. In most instances, you’ll need to renew it at least 30 days before the card’s expiration date.
Please note, however, that the exact terms and conditions of the renewal process are determined on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, it is best to check your state-specific rules for renewal. Also, while some state programs issue reminders to patients, others do not. As a result, it is your responsibility to ensure your MMJ card is renewed on time.
What Is the Process?
The process for renewing your medical marijuana card is usually pretty straightforward. You’ll need to have a medical marijuana evaluation with a doctor and send a renewal application to your state’s medical marijuana department.
We recommend returning to the physician who issued your original recommendation if possible. They may still have your medical documents on record. If they do, it saves you time and hassle as you won’t have to organize your entire medical history from scratch.
You must also bring the following documents to your evaluation:
- Government ID: This proves that you are a state resident. If you don’t have a state ID, make sure you bring a utility bill with your address.
- Medical Records: Whether you have an in-person evaluation or an online one, your doctor must understand your exact medical condition and why you are applying for a renewal. Even if you decide to return to the doctor who issued your first recommendation, chances are they won’t remember you. Therefore, bring all prescriptions, X-ray/MRI results, worker’s compensation reports, and/or disability paperwork.
- Original Medical Card: Please do not forget your original card.
The Follow-up Evaluation for a Medical Marijuana Card Renewal – How Does It Work?
Unlike your first evaluation, the doctor reviews your condition and asks different questions regarding your current health status. Their goal is to understand whether medical marijuana is helping your condition.
Furthermore, the physician may outline a treatment plan, ask you about any side effects you’ve experienced during your previous year, and stress the risks of using medical cannabis.
Once the consultation is complete, the evaluating physician will ask if you have any questions about the process or the benefits of medical marijuana. At this point, they will determine the outcome of the evaluation.
Please don’t assume you’ll receive another recommendation because you were approved for a medical marijuana card in the past. This isn’t always the case.
How Long Will It Take to Receive Your New MMJ Card After Renewal?
You will more than likely receive your renewed medical marijuana card (that is valid for one year) within 14 business days. Of course, this depends on the agency submitting the documents to your state’s Board of Health Services.
If you renew your card at least 30 days before expiration, you shouldn’t have a “dead period” where you can’t purchase marijuana. However, in some states, it is wise to begin approximately 60 days before your card expires. The new card is valid for 12 months (in most states), and you have to go through the same process one year later.
What Do I Need to Do for MMJ Card Renewal?
The MMJ card renewal process varies slightly depending on where you live. However, in most cases, it involves going through the state’s Department of Health once you receive your latest doctor’s certification. Remember, many states have time limits on MMJ card applications. For example, you may have to complete a new evaluation if you don’t go through the full process within 30-60 days of receiving a physician’s approval.
However, in most locations, the process is somewhat similar. Keep reading to see what you need as a patient or as a caregiver.
In certain states, it is necessary to provide an updated photograph on your application. Apart from the ID and certification, you’ll need to pay a renewal fee barring states that have waived it.
Make sure you update any information that has changed in the last 12 months. For instance, if you have changed address. If you have changed your name, ensure your physician updates it in their certification and that you provide the DOH with an updated proof of identity. Remember, your physician enters all your medical and personal information, so it’s important to inform them of ANY relevant changes.
Most state MMJ programs enable you to renew online on a specific portal. Log in as a returning user and confirm that all your information is correct, or update it accordingly. Once you complete the process, continue to use your current card until it expires. Apply early enough, and you’ll have your new card mailed to you in due course.
The caregiver renewal process is generally the same as the initial application. However, states such as Michigan require caregivers to complete a paper application. When renewing a caregiver, include the following:
- The physician certification form which outlines that you’re using a caregiver
- Proof of the caregiver’s state residency
- A separate caregiver’s renewal application
- The renewal fee
If your MMJ card permits cultivation by you and/or your caregiver, you will need to add additional information and pay the requisite growing fee. Caregiver rules, such as the number of MMJ patients they can help, may change in your state, so make sure you keep up to date. Your state may also want to perform a new background check on the caregiver.
How to Renew a Medical Card Online
Not every state allows MMJ patients to renew online, while it is the only way to renew in other locations. In theory, an online renewal process is quicker and easier than its snail mail counterpart. However, it is easier in some states than in others. In Colorado, for instance, once you log into your account and click on your name beneath ‘Tracking Inbox: Patient Registration,” you need only do the following:
- Add your provider certification
- Choose your cultivation information
- Add your caregiver’s registration ID number if you plan on continuing to use them
- Pay the processing fee
In Colorado, you only need to renew online three business days prior to your card’s expiry date, in theory. That’s how long it takes to process online applications if you include the correct information. After approval, you can access the card via your online account. Then you can print out the online card. You don’t receive one in the mail if you renew online.
However, it is not as quick or straightforward in every state, so be sure to leave yourself enough time.
How Much Does Medical Marijuana Card Renewal Cost?
The cost of MMJ renewal varies significantly according to the state. For example, renewals are free in Massachusetts, although you still have to pay for the doctor’s consultation. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, MMJ patients must pay a $200 fee each year. Check your state’s fees for more information. Also, certain locations offer discounts for patients on Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, or other benefits.
Final Thoughts on Renewing Your Medical Cannabis Card
Renewing your medical marijuana card allows you to purchase marijuana legally without any hassle. However, it is always important to remember that the federal government still classes marijuana as an illegal drug, even if it is legal in your state.
A medical cannabis renewal allows you to obtain marijuana at a lower price at your local dispensary, as you are a continued registered medical user rather than a recreational smoker. It is generally quick and easy, but always be sure to renew as early as your state’s MMJ program allows to guarantee legal protection when using marijuana.
[Need further help? If this is your first time applying for a medical marijuana card or if you require additional information about the medical marijuana renewal process, feel free to get in touch.]