A: Prop 215 is another term for the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Prop 215 was the first statewide medical marijuana
measure voted into law in the United States. Prop 215 provides protections to seriously ill persons who have their doctor’s
recommendation to use marijuana for medical purposes. Prop 215 also provides protections to the physicians and primary
caregivers who assist these seriously ill persons, who are known as “qualified patients” under
SB 420 (Chapter 875,
Statutes of 2003). SB 420 was enacted into the Health and Safety Code of California (Sections 11362.7 through 11362.83) to
address problems with Prop 215. SB 420 requires the California Department of Health Services to create the Medical
Marijuana Program (MMP). The state MMP is responsible for developing and maintaining an online registry and verification
system for Medical Marijuana Identification Cards or “MMICs.” MMICs are available to qualified patients and their
primary caregivers. The intent of SB 420 is to help law enforcement and qualified patients by creating a form of
identification for qualified patients that is official and uniform throughout the State. The online registry allows
law enforcement to verify that a MMIC is valid. For more information see the State
MMP’s home page.
Q: What is the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) and what does it do?
A: The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) manages the State’s MMP as authorized by
SB 420. Each county is
responsible for implementing their own Medical Marijuana Program. Los Angeles County has named their program: Medical
Marijuana ID Program (MMIP). The State's MMP developed the “Medical Marijuana Identification Card” or “MMIC” and operates
the internet system to verify these MMICs.
Q: What is a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC) and how can it help me?
A: The MMIC identifies the cardholder as a person protected under the provisions of
Prop 215 and
SB 420. It is used to
help law enforcement identify the cardholder as being able to legally possess certain amounts of medical marijuana under
Q: How do I know if I qualify for a MMIC?
A: You will need to discuss this with your attending physician. In order to qualify for the protections of
andSB 420, you will need to be diagnosed with a serious medical condition. The diagnosis and your physician’s
recommendation that the use of medical marijuana is appropriate for you must be documented in your medical records.
Q: What serious medical condition(s) do I need to have to qualify for a MMIC?
A: A serious medical condition, as defined by
SB 420, is any of the following: 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
symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined
in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety,
physical, or mental health.
Q: When and where can I apply for a MMIC?
A: If you are a resident of Los Angeles County, you can apply by appointment only to the Department of Public Health.
Because the program is not ready to accept applications, please hold all documents and await further information on
how to schedule an appointment.
Q: Are medical marijuana patients and their primary caregivers required to enroll in the MMIP?
A: No. Participation in the MMP is voluntary.
Q: I am a qualified patient. How do I apply for a MMIC?
A: You will need to fill out an Application/Renewal Form. You must reside in Los Angeles County where the application is submitted. You will need to provide current documentation with your application as follows:
- A copy of your medical records that documents the use of medical marijuana is appropriate for you.
- Proof of identity. This can be a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver’s license or identification (ID) card or other government-issued photo ID card.
- Proof of residency which can be:
- Rent or mortgage receipt.
- Utility bill
- California DMV motor vehicle registration
- Pay the fee required: To be determined. Medi-Cal beneficiaries will receive a 50 percent reduction in the application fee.
- Have your photo taken at the MMIP office. This photo will appear on your MMIC.
Q: Is it necessary to include copies of my medical records with my application?
A: Yes. To simplify this requirement, the state MMP offers a form to serve this purpose. It is the
Documentation of Patients Medical Records form. It is simply a form your physician can use to state in writing
that you have a serious medical condition and that the use of medical marijuana is appropriate. The original
is submitted with your application and a copy must be kept in your medical records at your physician’s office.
Q: How much does it cost to apply for a card?
A: Fee: to be determined (estimated ~$166). If you request the 50 percent Medi-Cal reduction, you will need
to provide proof of participation in the Medi-Cal Program.
Q: What is a primary caregiver?
A: A primary caregiver is a person who is consistently responsible for the housing, health, or safety of a
qualified patient. A primary caregiver must be at least 18 years of age, unless the primary caregiver is an
emancipated minor or the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient. A primary caregiver can also
be an owner, operator, or up to three employees of a clinic, facility, hospice, or home health agency. For
more information please visit the
Responsibilities: Applicant, Primary Caregiver, and Physician web page.
Q: I am a primary caregiver for a qualified patient. How do I apply for a MMIC?
A: As a primary caregiver you cannot apply for a MMIC. The patient you care for is responsible for applying for your MMIC. Your patient will need to fill out an Application/Renewal Form and check the appropriate box on the top of page one to include primary caregiver. You do not need to reside in the California county where the application is submitted, but you must provide information on your residence. If you are the primary caregiver for more than one qualified patient you must reside in the same county as them. You will need to provide proof of identity which can be a California DMV driver’s license or California ID card or other government-issued photo ID card. You must apply in person at your county’s program. There you will be asked to:
- Pay the fee required: To be determined. Medi-Cal beneficiaries and their primary caregivers will receive a 50 percent reduction to the application fee.
- Have your photo taken at the MMIP. This photo will appear on your MMIC.
Q: How long will it take to get my MMIC?
A: Once you submit your completed and signed application form with the required documents (proof of residency, medical
documentation, etc.), the county program has 30 days to approve or deny your application. Once the application is approved,
the county program has five days to make the MMIC available to you. It can take 35 days to receive your MMIC if the
application is complete and the county program finds no reason to deny your application. If any information or documents
are missing, this may delay processing your application. If this is the case, your county’s program will contact you
within 30 days from the day you submit your application. If you do not receive your MMIC in 35 days,
contact LA County MMIP.
Q: How long is a MMIC valid?
A: Generally, one year.
Q: How do I renew my MMIC?
A: Renewing a MMIC requires the same process as when you originally applied. This includes verifying your information and
giving you a new MMIC and new number. If your medical documentation is still valid, you may use this for your renewal. It
may not be necessary for you to obtain new medical documentation. We will verify any information they feel is necessary.
You will need to contact their office for more information.
Q: Is my MMIC valid outside of California?
Q: Is my MMIC valid in other California counties?
A: Yes. This is a statewide identification card and registry program.
Q: Do I need to let my county’s program know when I change my attending physician or primary caregiver?
A: Yes. You need to contact them within seven days. Failure to do so may result in the invalidation of your MMIC.
Q: Can the state MMP or LA County MMIP refer me to a doctor?
A: No. The state MMP and the LA County MMIP does not maintain lists of physicians nor is it a referral service.
Q: What happens to my application and other private health information after I give it to my county’s MMP?
A: Your application will be kept confidential and secure. The only release of your application will be with your
written permission. This includes appeals of denied applications to the state MMP. (The
Appeals Form contains a
declaration and signature block regarding this release.)
Q: I am a legal representative for a qualified patient who cannot make their own medical decisions. Can I apply for them?
A: Yes. A conservator with authority to make medical decisions, surrogate decision maker authorized under an advanced
health care directive, an attorney-in-fact under durable power of attorney for healthcare, or any other individual
authorized by statutory or decisional law to make medical decisions for the qualified patient may apply for that patient.
Q: Why do I need to apply for my MMIC in person?
A: You will need to have your photo taken which will appear on the MMIC. Also, certain verifications will need to be
completed in person.
Q: I am a caregiver for a bedridden qualified patient. What can I do to help my patient apply for a MMIC?
A: Please contact us for more information.
Q: Why does my primary caregiver need to come to my county’s program office with me to apply for our cards?
A: Only a patient can apply for either type of card, and both the patient and the primary caregiver must provide
certain personal information to the county program. You both need to apply in person at the county program office
because you will both be photographed for each MMIC.
Q: My primary caregiver lives in a different county than I do. Which county program do we apply in?
A: The county the patient resides in.
Q: Can a minor apply for a MMIC?
A: Yes. A minor can apply as a patient or caregiver under certain conditions. Minors may apply for themselves
as qualified patients if they are lawfully emancipated or have declared self-sufficiency status. If the minor
has not declared self-sufficient status or is not emancipated, the county’s program is required to contact the
minor’s parent, legal guardian, or person with legal authority to make medical decisions for the minor. This
is to verify information on the Application/Renewal Form. An emancipated minor or the minor's parent of a
qualified patient may apply as a primary caregiver. If a minor declares status as a self-sufficient minor
or is an emancipated minor, his or her county program may require additional documentation.
Contact us for
more information on additional required documentation.
Q: What can be proof of identity for a minor?
A: Minors may use government-issued photo identification, such as a California driver’s license or a California
ID card. A certified copy of a birth certificate can be sufficient proof of identity for a minor.
Q: My application for a MMIC was denied. How can I appeal this decision?
A: Please see the
Appeals web page for more information on appealing a county's decision to deny your application.
Q: What information will appear on the MMIC?
- A unique user identification number of the cardholder
- Date of expiration of the identification card
- Name and telephone number of the county program that has approved the application
- Internet address used to verify the validity of the MMIC
- Photo identification of the cardholder
- “Patient” or “Primary Caregiver” to specify the cardholder
Q: How do I replace my MMIC if it is lost, stolen, or damaged?
A: Please contact us for more details and fees.
Q: How much marijuana can I have in my possession?
A: For information on possession limits please visit the
Health and Safety Code Section 11362.77 or
contact your local law enforcement authority.
Q: Where can I get the seeds or plants to start growing marijuana for my medical use? How can I get related products?
A: The MMIP is not authorized to provide information on acquiring marijuana or other related products.