Until Jan. 1, 2018, you still need a recommendation from a doctor to legally obtain medical cannabis in California. Fortunately it is not difficult to get a recommendation. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
You need to have a reason to ask for a recommendation.
Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, made medical cannabis legal in California, as a treatment for a variety of conditions. Among the reasons people seek recommendations are chronic pain, PTSD, insomnia, headache, epilepsy, anxiety and cancer.
You need to get a letter from a doctor.
This could be your family doctor, if you happen to have an open-minded, progressive family doctor. You'll likely have better luck asking a doctor who specializes in medical cannabis cards, and they are not difficult to find online. I got my card from HelloMD. It was a simple online process to connect with the doctor there and get my recommendation. You'll need to take a photo of your driver's license and be able to email it to them. It costs $59, and is good for one year. And your insurance will not pay for it.
Find a dispensary
Once you have your recommendation, bring it with you to a dispensary (find one nearby at WeedMaps.com). You can also find a delivery service online, and again this will involve scanning or shooting picture of your ID and recommendation later, and sending them by email.
Before you visit the dispensary, you should have some idea of what you want when you get there. Do you want:
- Pre-rolled joints
- Flower to roll your own joints, or put in a pipe
- Oil to put in a vaporizer or cook with
- Sativa, indica or a hybrid
- High THC, or high CBD
Most dispensaries have an online presence. Check it out before you, and it won't be so overwhelming when you get there.
Alternatively, if you do not have an urgent medical need, you could wait until January, when Proposition 64 takes effect, and then learn about the rules in your area, which may vary by city and county throughout California.