Your medical marijuana card may be the key to improved health, but it’s not a free pass. It comes with responsibilities and rules you must follow to keep it. It’s also not a guarantee of access. Here are five facts you need to know about your medical marijuana card.
Your medical marijuana card expires and must be renewed. How often you need to renew varies by state. Californians must renew their card every year, while those in New Jersey must renew only every two years.
Marijuana Isn’t on The Formulary
The federal government considers marijuana an illegal Schedule I drug. Because the federal government deems the drug illegal and it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a doctor cannot legally prescribe it. A doctor’s “prescription” for medical marijuana is considered only a recommendation by law. As a result, your health insurance will not pay for medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana card allows you to use marijuana in your home. It does not permit marijuana use in public places or anywhere that cigarette smoking is prohibited. You will be fined for smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana in public, even with a medical marijuana card.
Medical marijuana use is not legal in every state. Note, too, that states honor only their own medical marijuana cards and permits. A New Jersey card will not protect you from legal ramifications in California, even though both states allow medical marijuana usage. Some states do reciprocate with others. In this instance, you will need to register for and purchase marijuana in the state you are visiting and use it there. Even with a reciprocating agreement, carrying marijuana across state lines is a federal crime.
DUI Is Possible
In 2016, an Arizona appeals court ruled in favor of protecting medical marijuana users from DUI charges. It was determined, however, that cardholders could still be charged with DUI if police can prove they were “too impaired to be driving.” Remember that is is still unwise and illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, even if you hold a medical marijuana card.
There are still legal kinks and slippery slopes affecting the use of medical marijuana. Keep this in mind when you get your medical marijuana card and make sure you understand what it permits and what it doesn’t. Your local officials and doctor will both be happy to answer your questions and help you follow the appropriate medical cannabis laws.