How to Get a Legal Medical Marijuana Card

Misconceptions: Prescriptions vs. Recommendations vs. Cannabis Cards

Sample medical marijuana ID cardThe first thing that needs clarification is the difference between prescriptions, recommendations, and legal medical marijuana cards. People who carry a cannabis recommendation or a cannabis card often refer to their documentation as a prescription for medicinal marijuana. This is not exactly correct. While some states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, the US government still considers this medicine to be a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. As a result, even legal medical marijuana cannot be considered to be a prescription.

Medical Marijuana Recommendations

If a doctor identifies cannabis as a potential treatment for a disease or illness, they can write a medical marijuana recommendation for their patient. In some states, such as California, this recommendation allows its holder to visit dispensaries to obtain their medication. In other states, law requires the patient to register this recommendation with the state government, which will then issue them a medical cannabis card.

Medical Cannabis Cards

Medical marijuana programs in which patients who qualify can legally use medical marijuana in their state are commonly in the news these days. Since these legislations are based on state legal medical marijuana laws, regulation varies by state. Most states track patients who have been recommended medicinal cannabis so that police and other state-run agencies can verify that legal possession. To do so, most issue medical cannabis cards. In California, a recommendation is sufficient to posses certain amounts of marijuana, but patients have the option to get a card as well.

First, patients must visit an approved and certified MD who can recommend legal medical marijuana based on ailments or sicknesses that the patient is experiencing. Upon approval by the doctor and the state, they are issued a medical cannabis card. Find doctors who recommend medical marijuana in your area at

Why Get a Legal Medical Marijuana Recommendation or Card?

There are 15 states (and Washington DC) which have approved legal medical marijuana programs to help patients who are in need. The only way that you can gain access to such programs, such as medicinal cannabis dispensaries in your state, is by first being issued a cannabis card.

Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card:

Here’s a good read on Tips for Finding a Reputable Marijuana Clinic.”

  1. Visit your licensed doctor
  2. Receive your medical marijuana recommendation (That’s enough in some states!)
  3. Apply for medical cannabis card to the state
  4. Pay fees
  5. Get approved
  6. Get medicinal cannabis card!

45 thoughts on “How to Get a Legal Medical Marijuana Card

      I would like to get certified for Anxiety/Stress as i am on Celexa….and i feel like it does not work. i have tried Xanax, and Valium…none really worked and they are habit forming. I know from experience, mary jane is not and nothing relieves stress like MJ either.

      • i have seizures really bad and i’ve been a test pig for alot of meds and nothing works like MJ but i live in ridgeland, sc. and have no idea how to get a card or whatnot…

  1. This is Very Frusterating I live in salt lake city utah and have used mj for 10 plus years for a list of medical reasons, anxiety, depression, ibs, bad chron’s and epilepsy. I haven’t had a siezuere since i have became an everyday user. Yet I can’t find a way to get legal authorization, or mj card.

  2. i am a mother of a 21 yr old daughter who live with seizures and just recently diagnost with dystonia a movement disorder dude to the medication (verset?)given to her in 2005 @ age 13 when put into an induced coma from a very bad seizure that lasted 5 days.. thank god she survived. a few years later although we got her back to doing some of her basic life skills,walking, going to the bathroom, feeding and writing by herself and most of her recreational activities 3 1/2 yrs later we started to noticed all sorts of thing that was not her norm—we know that the beating her brain took those 5 days would maybe bring som changes to her life…she was given more meds, lamital, keppra, depikote,anfi just to make sure to control status (SEIZURES) well now the dystona (tightening of her muscles) and the seizures are in competition and she is fighting so hard to just b…she is very alert and want to do the things she is use to doing. but can’t control the movements.. i have read so many positive stories and have done my research on LEAGAL MARIJUNANA – especially for people living with different illnesses – but we live in the bronx new york and not in a position to move to a state where it is legal… i want to help my daughter and want to get her the medical card – what are our options…want her to live…

    • Hello Lacy,
      Thank you for writing us. We are so sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles. It is a shame that we still have illegal states with all of the findings here in the US and overseas. It really isn’t fair! Your best bet is to contact your nearest LEGAL state and ask for guidance there. Other than that, HEMP products are legal and contain CBD’s, one of the healing components in cannabis and hemp. While this is not ideal, it is a move in the right direction.

      Please contact UPG again if you run into more road blocks.


      The UPG Team.

    • Good morning Matthew, How can we halp you? Do you have a question? You are always welcome to click on our tab called “The Patients Room” and start there. It is a step by step informational page that can help you navigate this industry as a patient.
      I hope this helps!
      UPG Team

  3. Hello, am HIV+ but from FL. Have a trip coming up to CA and wondering if there is any possibility of enjoying these benefits while there?

    • Hello Phil, In order to obtan cannabis products in California legally, you would have to get a state ID. Once you get that, you would then make an appointment with a Doctor that could authorize your using MMJ for HIV. If you’d like to discuss this further privately, feel free to call us at 415-524-8099.

      All the best,
      ~The UPG Team

  4. I think. The people. Who. Really. Need this medicine and really have chronic pain. Should get the medical merijuana license for free the first time thats if you meet the standards of you condition and after it expires then you. Pay two renewed the midical merijuana license. Ps only. People. With real problems . I hate the way some people dont have shit wrong with them and just uses it two get high those arethe people who fucks it up for the rest of us who really has something wrong with them.

  5. I went to the hospital with abdominal pain.
    After sonogram, MRI and CTscann. Drs. Found
    My gall bladder was clogged and needed to come out
    And a cancerous tumor in my pancreas was also found.
    Went to surgery, the huge scar, but Drs. only got the gall
    Bladder out, the tumor is still in my pancreas.
    I have had people tell me about how magnificent
    Cannabis oil has worked with cancer and got me interested in trying it.
    I’m in Midland Tx. And I need help finding the real thing.
    Any suggestions? Please help me….

    • Thomas, Unfortunately Cannabis Oil is still illegal in Texas. Many patients come to California for treatment. If you would like to discuss these steps and other options feel free to click the consultation tab on our site and schedule yourself in ( We are here if you need us!

      All the best,
      United Patients Group

  6. I live in North Carolina,they are on there way for allowing patients to use CBD oil, which is great but bill “H1161” which is recreational use did not pass. My question is what is the nearest state from N.C. that I could see about getting my legal Medical Marijuana Card. I am even thinking about moving. Thank you,Miles

  7. My Name is Sharon Haines, I live in Edgewood, Maryland. iam 65 years old. I have been going to a pain clinic for 2 years now and without much progress at all now. My level of pain each day now is 7-8. There is nothing more they can do for me as Ian taking the kind of Morphine, that is to last 12 hours, iam blessed to get 3 hours relief from it.
    If you can’t help me get a medical card to smoke marijuana, then I was hoping perhaps that you could point me to a doctor here in the Baltimore County, or Hartford County area who can help me as Ian at the end of my rope it seems.
    Worried about whats to happen to me as I do get much older and have nothing to help my pain. My pain is called Chronic pain from my back being broken 8 times now. I cant have any operation as I will end up in a wheel chair for the rest of my life.
    Thank you so very much. Anything you can help me with will be a blessing. God bless you.
    Sharon Haines
    P.S. Ian on 60 mg. of Morphine in the morning, and 30mgs at night. Still it doesn’t help me.

    • Sharon,
      You might find some dorection on the private Facebook page called “Cannabis Oil Success Stories”. This page is a private page so no comments are public. You can post a question to the community there. Many find help within this page.
      I hop ethis helps!

  8. Hey Im Bobby and I am a patient. I have smoked pot for about 20 years. I am from Alexandria, va and was interested in receiving information on getting a card so I canhave my medicine when I need it instead of chasing these part time weed dealing mf’s. Please help me out . Thanks

    • Hello Bobby,
      We believe that Virginia is still not a legal state. YOu may want to contact your local Health Depeartment for the status on medical cannabis in your area.


    • Hey bobbie, just wanted to check in, do you have your medical card is the state legal it was what two years ago that you posted your situation. I’m new to this this, & will be true to this. I was in calif, now NV. Did you ever get your medical card? ????

  9. Hi! I just got my recommendation and I’m very worried because it seemed way too easy to get. Some people have said that I should’ve had to send in paper work to the stated of California before getting it. But the doctor and the nurse didn’t say anything about that when I went in. They had me fill out some paperwork and asked me some questions and then they gave it to me. And now I’m very worried that this was legal. Or is it supposed to be like that?

    • Yvette,
      Yes that sounds like the usual process in California as we do not have to send any paperwork in to the State of California.

      I hope this helps,


    • Indica,

      Yes it varies not only by state but by doctor/clinic. It can be anywhere from $40 to $250.


  10. I am a a 56 yr old woman, I suffer from anxiety and depression. Due to domestic violence, I suffer from chronic pain. I have five neck surgeries and carpal surgery on each palm. Due to a car accident in 5-98, I had to have a Total Fusion and I have thirteen screws holding my head. I live in severe everyday, at times it’s extruding, I’m also on remission for Invasive Anal Cancer. In October 30, 2010, I was diagnosed treated with two sets of chemotherapy for seven days 24hrs for, it was a hard fight. I have insomnia, lost of appetite, nausea, headaches, neck pain 24/7. I have stomach pain with diarrhea have no control, I have no feeling and I have to wear pampers, because I have no control. I’m a certified medical assistant, and I went back to work, but it’s very hard for me. I also have neuropathy my hands and feet get numb and everything falls from my hands and my feet I’m unable to walk. I lost my husband last year to stage 4 lung cancer. I’m sending my medical records to you so you can review them and, guide me to the next step to a real life. I’m so tired of taking medications, I need all the help I can. I have got this far, I’m positive and determine that I can live a greater life. Hope to hear from you soon!!Thank you
    Where do I apply for my Marijuana card

    • Myrna,
      We are an educational site. We do not offer recommendations for a medical cannabis card. We DO have nurses on staff who schedule appointments for consultations. You will find the nursing shcedules on our home page under the consutlation tab.
      Mary Ann

  11. I read somewhere there was something that was called a compassionate act that could apply if you live in a state that is not legal. Do you know anything about this?

  12. Hello I am a 18yr old from NY I suffer from constant motion sickness high anxiety back spasms and nerve damage I don’t know if this could help but I don’t know where to start to try to get my card or whatever I have to do

    • James,

      Much will depend on where you live and if your are in a legal state. Please feel free to call our offices to discuss your options. 415-524-8099.


      Mary Ann

  13. Coming to CA for cannabis oil. My understanding is I need a California ID card for one day, a recommendation from a Dr, and then I can purchase the cannabis oil I need. Is this correct? Thanks.

    • Mark,

      You willneed and ID but there is no ID for “one day”. You will have to have an address for yourself in California as well, this is where the hard copy of your ID will be sent. Once you have your ID, you are able to book an appointment with a physician and attain medicine if you qualify. Please understand that transporting cannabis across statelines is illegal. Even if it is between two cannabis legal states.
      I hope this helps,

  14. I suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1993 they left the bullet in my brain which causes siezures can I use medical marijuana to help control them? I have found with occasional use I go years without having any siezures at all. Please help.

    • Hello Matt,
      It sounds like you have found relief with occasional cannabis use. You have said please help, how can we help you? What are you in need of? Are you in a cannabis legal state? Are you over 21? If you would like to discuss, feel free to call our offices at 415-524-8099.

  15. I am going CRAZY trying to figure out how to get a card. I live in a state where it’s not legal yet but I have done the research and found that it would be very helpful with all my symptoms from acute intermediate porphyria. Any help. Anyone. Thank you anyone who can help me

    • Lora,
      You are right, it is very frustrating. If you live in acannabis illegal state, there is no way to get a cannabis card and become legal.
      We suggest you write your state officials.
      I wish we had more advice for you!

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