Today’s question comes in from Devin. And, he writes…
- Any Maryland resident whose provider approves medical cannabis as a treatment option for a qualifying medical condition is eligible to register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) as a patient.
- Any non-Maryland resident currently living in Maryland for the purpose of receiving medical treatment is eligible to register as a patient, as well.
Although recently the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission extended an administrative hold on out-of-state patient applicants until further notice. As a result of this hold, out-of-state patient applications will not be reviewed at this time, and applicants who live outside the State may not access medical cannabis at Maryland licensed dispensaries.
So, if you’re non-Maryland resident looking to register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, I’d recommend getting in touch with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission to get info on the latest.
STEP 1: Register as a patient with Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Complete and submit the online application form on the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Registry website.
The application requires
- copy of a valid US government issued photo ID
- proof of Maryland address or if you’re a not a Maryland resident, provide the address of and a contact name for the Maryland medical facility where you’re is receiving treatment.
- copy of a recent photo
What happens next?
You’ll then receive an email after Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has reviewed your application, indicating whether or not your application has been approved.
Once your application has been approved, the registration is valid for two years.
And, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no fee to apply.
The approval indicates you are registered with Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. But, you must still get a valid written certification to purchase medical cannabis in Maryland.
STEP 2: Get a written certification from a provider registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Medical cannabis cannot be purchased without a valid written certification from a provider registered with Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Once you’re registered, you must get a valid written certification from a doctor registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
Your doctor must be registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission as a “Certifying Provider” to issue certifications to patients for medical cannabis.
Basically, any doctor with an active, unrestricted license in good standing with the Maryland State Board of Physicians, and actively registered to prescribe controlled substances in Maryland, is eligible to register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
So, ask your doctor if he or she is registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
And, if your doctor is not registered with the Medical Cannabis Commission, you can find information on providers who recommend cannabis for treatment of qualifying patients on the Maryland State Medical Society website.
What conditions can your certifying provider issue a medical marijuana certification for?
- Qualifying conditions include,
- Severe Loss of Appetite,
- Wasting Syndrome,
- Severe or Chronic Pain,
- Severe Nausea,
- Severe or Persistent Muscle Spasms,
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), OR
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that results in the patient being admitted into hospice or receiving palliative care
Overall, the general standards for determining if a patient qualifies for medical cannabis are that the patient’s condition is severe, other medical treatments have been ineffective, and the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of Cannabis.
The patient is required by law to have a bona fide provider-patient relationship with the provider and the provider must approve medical cannabis as a treatment option for the patient for a qualifying medical condition.
Maryland law defines a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” as a treatment or counseling relationship between a Provider and patient in which the physician reviews the patient’s relevant medical records, completes an in-person assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, creates and maintains medically standardized records, expects to monitor patient progress and takes any medically indicated action to follow up.
How often does your certifying provider follow up with you?
At minimum, the provider must perform an in-person, evaluation once every 365 days, with additional evaluation to be performed at the discretion of the provider, to continue to issue a written certification to your – the patient.
What happens next?
Your doctor then submits your medical marijuana certification to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission database, which will be linked to your MMCC-assigned Patient ID number.
Certifications are valid for a maximum of one year
A written certification that is not used to purchase medical cannabis within 120 days of issuance becomes null and void.
You’ll then be able to get medical cannabis at any licensed dispensary in Maryland by presenting your MMCC-issued ID card or another valid government-issued ID (i.e. driver’s license).
Step 3: Visit a licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Maryland
After your registration has been approved by MMCC and your provider has issued you a valid written certification, you are ready to visit a licensed Maryland dispensary to purchase medical cannabis
You can go to any licensed dispensary to pick up medical cannabis. Some dispensaries will deliver medical cannabis to the patient’s home.
When purchasing medical cannabis at a dispensary, patients will be required to present their valid US government-issued photo ID. The dispensary agent will verify your certification in the Commission’s database before conducting any transaction. The dispensary must check the Commission secure database to confirm that the patient has a “written certification” and confirm the patient’s identity. The dispensary will record how much medical cannabis has been dispensed to you – the patient.
Will health insurers cover the cost of medical cannabis?
At this time, the cost of medical cannabis is not reimbursable by any private or public insurance plan, Medicare or Medicaid, or through Veterans’ covered plans.
Health insurers are not required to cover the cost of medical cannabis. Private health insurers are free under Maryland law to develop policies that will cover medical cannabis.
How much medical cannabis (dried flower) can you possess as a qualifying patient at one time?
You cannot possess more than 120 grams — or approximately four ounces, unless your doctor makes a special determination that you need more.
Is there a maximum amount of THC in an extract that a patient can get in a month?
The maximum amount of THC in an extract that you can get in a month is 36 grams.
Is cannabis oil considered a type of medical cannabis?
It is if the cannabis oil is produced by a Maryland-licensed processor.
What forms of medical cannabis are available at the licensed medical marijuana dispensaries?
Medical cannabis is available in forms that can be vaporized which is not smoking, or as extracts, lotions, ointments, tinctures, etc. Edible cannabis products will not be available from dispensaries in Maryland.
Know that the laws on medical marijuana are constantly changing. So, please check the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission website for updates. I’ve included a link to the website below.
If after getting your doctor’s certification, you’re still lost or confused about how to safely use medical marijuana, I’m more than happy to help you. Head on over to https://www.drrachnapatel.com/medical-marijuana-clinic/ for more info.