It might surprise you to know that marijuana is somewhat legal here in California.
With a doctor’s recommendation, you can legally buy weed at shops known as collectives or dispensaries, and you can even grow a good number of plants in your home.
Controversially enough, it is not at all difficult to get your weed card, so long as you’re willing to be open and honest.
Physicians can recommend marijuana for any serious condition which they believe might be alleviated by getting high. This initially meant that patients of cancer, AIDS and other chronic illnesses could use marijuana medicinally. However, more and more doctors now agree that there are a number of patients with other conditions who might also benefit from smoking weed.
Patients who suffer from arthritis, migraines, insomnia, glaucoma, nausea and mood disorders also have the option of treating themselves, not with pills or pharmaceuticals, but with all natural, delicious marijuana.
The “ease” of getting a recommendation has understandably caused some concern among people who believe it might encourage others to take advantage of a law that was designed to help chronically ill patients. But it would be unfair and illogical to only recommend marijuana to a small group of people when many agree that it has the potential to help out so many more.
You most likely won’t be able to get a medical marijuana recommendation from your everyday physician at your regular clinic. Instead, you’ll have to stop by a specific medical marijuana consultation clinic.
These clinics look and run like regular clinics, and they are overseen by licensed, legitimate physicians and nurses.
While it might feel as if you’re walking into an underground, illegal business, going in for a medical marijuana consultation is not much different from a regular doctor’s appointment.
You’ll need proper identification, and you’ll need about $60.
After checking in, you are taken into a private exam room. A nurse usually attends to you first, and does all of the usual nurse stuff, like taking your blood pressure and medical history. The nurses also usually give you smoking advice, and can tell you about the differences between vaporizers, edibles and concentrates to help you figure out which method is right for you, given your condition.
Then the doctor comes in and discusses your condition to see if you might benefit from weed. Again, they’ll be asking some pretty typical things: How long have you been feeling this way? Are there any specific triggers? What other treatments have you tried?
Do not be surprised if the doctor does not consult with you in person. Because of the federal ban on marijuana, there are only a few doctors who are willing to give evaluations and recommendations. Thus, in order to extend their service, some doctors offer consultations over Skype.
After your consultation, you are usually then given a temporary (though fully functionable) recommendation. This short-term license is only good for about two months. During this time, the clinic verifies your medical history with your original health care provider. If your information checks out, you are then given a yearlong recommendation.
Renewing your recommendation after your year expires is just as easy, if not quicker and cheaper.
The key thing to remember if you want to get a recommendation is that your medical history will be checked. So before you go into a marijuana consultation clinic, make sure you’ve visited your usual doctor about your condition at least once. If they have prescribed you any sort of medication, it will show up during your verification and will make it more likely that you will be approved for the full year.
You can skip the verification process if you bring in legitimate paperwork and medical records detailing your condition. Otherwise, be prepared to give your doctor’s name and the clinic’s address.
An important thing to remember is that everything is kept confidential. If you’re over 18, you don’t need to worry about your parents or anyone else finding out.
As I mentioned, your doctor’s recommendation will allow you to buy and carry a certain amount of weed. This means you can legally smoke anywhere smoking is allowed. Conversely, you must always obey any “No Smoking” signs.
You should also keep in mind that certain places, like schools, businesses and federal parks specifically prohibit marijuana, and you can be fined or punished for possession, even with a doctor’s recommendation.
LEO OCAMPO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.