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PFA Tips: Medical Cannabis – Process for Applying in Maryland

By Shelly McLaughlin, Program Director, Pathfinders for Autism

Download a printable version of “Medical Cannabis: Process for Applying in Maryland”

Medical Cannabis is becoming an increasingly more popular treatment with the recent legalization of its use in many states including Maryland. While cannabis is not being prescribed specifically for Autism, the cannabinoids (including THC, CBC, CBD, CBG and CBN) are being used to treat symptoms commonly experienced by patients with Autism. To legally obtain medical cannabis in Maryland, patients must register with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) and adhere to strict policies and guidelines.

What medical conditions qualify for patient registration?
Qualifying medical conditions include cachexia, anorexia, wasting syndrome, chronic or severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective.

What are the steps to legally obtain cannabis in Maryland?
Step 1: Register as a patient with MMCC
Step 2: Obtain a written certification from a provider registered with the Commission
Step 3: Purchase your MMCC ID card
Step 4: Visit a licensed Maryland dispensary

Step 1: Register as a patient/caregiver with MMCC

What is the process to register as a patient?
You must have a valid, accessible email account. Complete and submit the online application form. You will create a login to access your information on the MMCC website. After you submit your online application you will receive an email to verify your email address. You must click the ‘verfiy’ link to complete the application. MMCC must review and approve your application. The approval process can take 30 days or more. Approval simply indicates you are registered with MMCC; you must still obtain a valid written certification from an approved provider and purchase your MMCC card before you can purchase medical cannabis.

How long is a registration valid?
Registration with MMCC is valid for three years. (This is the date on your MMCC ID card).

Photo requirements for registration
The number one reason that applications are not processed are due to the ID photos submitted. The Commission requires a photo be attached with your online application and it has very strict guidelines that must be followed. In general, your photo must look like a passport or driver’s license photo. Review the specific guidelines. If the photo does not match the exact requirements, you will receive an email and your application will be on hold until you submit a new photo.

What is a caregiver registration?
A caregiver is a person who, once registered with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, and in possession of a valid MMCC Caregiver ID card, is able to purchase medical cannabis from a licensed Maryland dispensary on behalf of his or her designated patient(s) and transport the legally obtained medical cannabis to the patient. Caregivers must be at least 21 years of age and are required to register with and purchase ID cards from the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The caregiver’s valid MMCC Caregiver ID card must be presented at a dispensary in order to purchase medical cannabis. A registered patient is permitted to have a maximum of two caregivers at one time. Minor patients (under the age of 18) are required to have at least one caregiver at all times. Only parents and legal guardians of minor patients are eligible to serve as their caregivers. You must register as a caregiver and obtain your caregiver number BEFORE registering the patient. Review specific caregiver requirements and caregiver registration information.

Can applications be expedited?
There is a high volume of applications to be processed. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. In order to be fair to all patients seeking registration, MMCC cannot expedite the processing of an application for individuals that visit MMCC in person.

Step 2: Obtain a written certification from a provider registered with the Commission

Where can a registered patient find an approved provider to obtain a written certification?
Once a patient has been approved by the MMCC, the next step is to obtain a written certification. To find an approved registered provider, visit the MMCC home page and click on Find a Provider. If the provider determines that the patient qualifies to purchase cannabis products, he will issue a written certification which is uploaded onto your MMCC page under the tab “Written Certifications”. Once issued, you have the option to print the certification at any time from the site. The written certification is valid for one year.

Your certification from the approved provider expires if not used to purchase cannabis at least once within 120-days of when certification was issued.

Step 3: Purchase your MMCC ID card

How do I purchase my card?
You must purchase your card AFTER you obtain your written certification from an approved provider. To purchase your card, sign in to your page on the MMCC website and click on the RENEW tab (NOT the ID Card tab). Once you have paid the $50 fee online, then you can click on the ID Card tab and print a temporary ID card. A permanent card will then be mailed to you.

Step 4: Visit a licensed Maryland dispensary

Where can a registered patient purchase legal medical cannabis?
A Maryland patient can only obtain legal medical cannabis from Maryland-licensed dispensaries. Review the list of Maryland dispensaries.

In order to make a purchase, the patient must present the written certification and MMCC patient ID card at the dispensary.

How much can a registered patient purchase?
Your written certification will state how many grams of dried flower product OR how many grams of THC in processed products you may purchase per month. Sign into your MMCC website page and click on the “Amount available to purchase” tab and it will show you the amount you are permitted to purchase as of that day. The limit is calculated as a rolling 30 day limit. That is, the amount that a patient may purchase today is calculated as the certified amount minus the total of all purchases made in the last 30 days. The purchasing limit is not based on the calendar month.

**Pathfinders for Autism (PFA) does not endorse any specific treatments or therapies. Information provided is not meant to serve as medical advice. PFA urges individuals exploring any treatment to work with their treating physician to make the best decisions for their own care. Patients considering the use of medical cannabis need to be aware of Maryland’s law and regulations. PFA supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for autism related symptoms.

Additional Resources

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission – home page

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission – Patient Registration

PFA Medical Cannabis Resources

© 2019 Pathfinders for Autism


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