California Medical Marijuana – Patient Responsibilities

California Medical Marijuana – Patient Responsibilities

Only patients or their legal representatives may apply for a card for themselves and/or their primary caregivers. Because of this, patients are also known as “applicants.” The patient or applicant is a person diagnosed with a serious medical condition for which the medical use of marijuana is appropriate. These serious medical conditions are: acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); anorexia; arthritis; cachexia (wasting syndrome); cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms (i.e., spasms associated with multiple sclerosis); seizures (i.e., epileptic seizures); severe nausea; any other chronic or persistent medical condition that limits the ability of the patient to conduct one or more major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the patient’s safety, physical, or mental health. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure you meet these criteria before continuing with the application process. Your responsibilities are:

Proof of California Residency

  • You must be a resident of the county where you apply for the MMP.
  • You must provide proof of residency when you submit your completed application.
  • Proof of residency can be any of the following items: a copy of last month’s rent, mortgage, or utility bill listing your name and physical address within the county; or a DMV issued motor vehicle registration listing your name and physical address within the county.
  • In the case of a minor applicant who is neither emancipated nor self-sufficient, and does not possess proof of county residence in his or her own name, any of the previously mentioned forms of residency evidence belonging to the parent or legal guardian is sufficient proof of residency, if they are residents of the same county.

Proof of Identity

  • You must bring proof-of-identity when you submit your application.
  • The county program will request a copy of a “government-issued photographic identification card” issued to you. Your California driver’s license or a California Identification (ID) Card is an example of an ID that satisfies this requirement.
  • Minor applicants without a government issued photo ID may use a certified copy of their birth certificate.


Physicians Recommendation

  •  You must have a copy of written documentation contained in your medical records from your physician (medical doctor or osteopath) stating that you have a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate.
  • Your physician may use the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records (PDF) to satisfy this requirement.

County Program Photographing

  • Your county program will take a digital photo of you and any primary caregiver you may designate at the time you submit your application.
  •  The photo taken will appear on your MMIC.


  •  Be ready to pay the application fee when you submit your application.
  •  Applicants who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries qualify for a 50 percent reduction for their own card and primary caregiver’s card, if any.  Your county program will verify your Medi-Cal participation.

Completing the Application

  • You must submit a complete and accurate application.  Omitting required information or answering inaccurately are grounds for a denial.
  • Sign and date the required sections.

Renewals For Medical Marijuana

  • Generally, the MMIC expires within one year (with certain exceptions).
  • It is up to you to apply for a renewal.
  • The renewal process is the same as the application process.
  • You must submit current medical information with your Application/Renewal Form (PDF).

 If Applying for a Primary Caregiver

  • If you designate a primary caregiver, make sure your caregiver is not already serving as a designated primary caregiver to another qualified patient in a different county.
  • If you, as the applicant, are a Medi-Cal beneficiary, the fee for your primary caregiver’s card will also be discounted 50 percent.
  • Be sure your primary caregiver completes, signs, and dates their portion of the Application/Renewal Form.



  • If you choose to appeal a denied application, it is your responsibility to appeal the denial of your card and/or your primary caregiver’s card, if any.
  • Appeals must be postmarked within 30 calendar days from the date on the notice of a denied application.
  • Please see the Appeals section for more information on appealing a county denial.

Other Responsibilities

  • If you change physicians, you must notify the county program within seven days.
  • If you change primary caregivers, you must notify your county program within seven days of the change, and you must instruct your former primary caregiver to turn in their MMIC to the county program for confidential destruction.
  • It is your responsibility to use your MMIC only for the purposes intended by the law.
  • You will need to authorize your physician to release medical information to the county program.  Your county program cannot process your application without this authorization.

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