Washington was the very first state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2012. Adults over the age of 21 are legally allowed to buy and possess cannabis products from licensed dispensaries.
However, the state still has a robust medical marijuana program, which is overseen by the Washington Department of Health. Even though recreational cannabis is legal, getting a medical marijuana card in Washington has many benefits, including priority access to supply at dispensaries, a physician’s guidance, potentially lower costs, access for pediatric patients, and more.
The process of getting a medical marijuana card in Washington is different from that in other states. Read on to discover qualifying conditions, the steps you need to take to get your card, and more.
During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many states have temporarily adjusted their medical marijuana regulations to help keep healthcare practitioners, patients, and dispensary employees safe.
Medical marijuana patients seeking a medical marijuana card renewal can now skip the doctor’s office and book a telemedicine appointment from the comfort of their homes. You can book a telehealth appointment with Heally, and we’ll connect you with a registered healthcare practitioner in your state.
At this time, curbside pickup is allowed in Washington for both medical and non-medical users.
Quick Guide to Washington MMJ
There are three basic steps to getting a medical marijuana card in Washington:
- Check Your Eligibility: You’ll need to be a resident of Washington with a qualifying condition to be eligible for medical marijuana.
- Get a Medical Marijuana Authorization from a Healthcare Practitioner: Book an appointment with a healthcare provider to receive a Medical Marijuana Authorization form.
- Meet with a Certified Medical Marijuana Consultant to Receive Your Medical Recognition Card: Bring your authorization form to a licensed dispensary to meet with a consultant to receive your recognition card.
How to Get a Washington Medical Marijuana Card in Three Steps
1. Check Your Eligibility
To register on Washington State’s Medical Marijuana Registry, you’ll first need to meet basic qualifying requirements. Current regulations require medical marijuana patients to be Washington residents with valid ID and a diagnosis for one or more debilitating or terminal qualifying conditions. The condition must be severe enough to significantly interfere with a patient’s quality of life and ability to function on a daily basis.
Washington’s list of qualifying conditions is as follows:
- Intractable pain that is unrelieved by standard medical interventions
- Acute pain
- Intractable pain or chronic pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep apnea
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms
- Seizures, including that characteristic of epilepsy
- Crohn’s disease
- Cancer (associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting syndrome)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
Intractable pain is the most common qualifying condition, making up 77% of cases in the state.
It’s important to note that, at this time, mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression do not qualify for medical marijuana in Washington.
2. Get a Medical Marijuana Authorization from a Healthcare Practitioner
If you can prove that you’re a resident of Washington and you have been diagnosed with one of the debilitating or terminal qualifying conditions listed above, the next step to take is to get a Medical Marijuana Authorization form from a healthcare practitioner.
In Washington, medical doctors (MD), physician assistants (PA), osteopathic physicians (DO), osteopathic physician assistants (DOA), advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP), and naturopathic physicians are all considered qualified healthcare practitioners who can provide patients with Medical Marijuana Authorization forms. Heally can connect you with a qualified healthcare practitioner in your state to get you started. Just book an appointment to get started.
If you require a caregiver, please note that both the patient and the caregiver will need separate authorizations at this step. Further, the designated caregiver must have a 1:1 relationship with you, meaning that you only have one caregiver and that caregiver only serves one patient at a time.
3. Meet with a Certified Medical Marijuana Consultant to Receive Your Medical Recognition Card
While the first two steps required to get a Washington medical marijuana card are similar to those in other states, step three is where the process differs. In Washington, patients who have been qualified by a physician and received their Medical Marijuana Authorization form must then visit a medically endorsed marijuana dispensary to meet with a certified medical marijuana consultant. All licensed marijuana stores must have a certified consultant on staff.
At this appointment, the consultant will enter you into the Medical Marijuana Registry, assist you in selecting products that will help improve the symptoms of your condition, discuss the risks and benefits of this treatment option, give advice about storage and proper use of cannabis products, and answer any questions you may have. They’ll also provide you with a recognition card. As of June 2019, 33,384 recognition cards have been issued.
Note: Patients under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or guardian participate in their treatment and agree to the use of medical marijuana. Both the parent/guardian and the minor patient must be entered into the state’s Medical Marijuana Registry and hold a recognition card.
With this recognition card, you’ll be able to purchase, process, and grow a limited number of cannabis plants. Specifically, you’ll be able to legally purchase any combination of the following products:
- 3 ounces of usable marijuana
- 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
- 216 ounces of marijuana products in liquid form, or
- 21 grams of cannabis concentrates
These limits are considerably higher than those for recreational users:
- 1 ounce of usable marijuana
- 16 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form
- 72 ounces of marijuana products in liquid form, or
- 7 grams of cannabis concentrates
Recognized cardholders can also grow 6 plants for personal use and possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana from those plants. A healthcare provider can also permit a higher limit of up to 15 plants for personal medical use and 16 ounces of usable marijuana from those plants if you are deemed to require more than the presumptive amount.