If you wish to become a patient in California, first visit your doctor and ask them to recommend cannabis to treat one of the eligible conditions listed below. Once you've done this, you are eligible to buy medical cannabis in California, just bring your doctor's recommendation with you! If you wish to acquire a registry ID card that will serve the same role as your recommendation, you will need to fill out an Application/Renewal Form. You must reside in the California county where the application is submitted. You will need to provide current documentation with your application as follows:

  • A copy of your medical recommendation.
  • Proof of identity. This can be a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver license or identification (ID) card or other valid government-issued photo ID card.
  • Proof of residency, such as:
    • Rental or mortgage agreement,
    • Utility bill, or
    • California DMV motor vehicle registration.

You must apply in person at your county program. There, you will be asked to:

  • Pay the fee required by your county program (not to exceed $100). Medi-Cal beneficiaries will receive a 50 percent reduction in the application fee (not to exceed $50), and the fees shall be waived for indigent patients who are eligible for and participate in the County Medical Services Program.
  • Have your photo taken at the county's program office. This photo will appear on your MMIC.

Your county program will need to take your photo, which will appear on the Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC). Also, certain verifications will need to be completed in person. A registry ID card can make things easier for patients at dispensaries and may be used in many other states that offer reciprocity to visiting patients.

Eligible Conditions:

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Migraine
  • Severe Nausea
  • Persistent muscle spasms (for example, spasms caused by multiple sclerosis)
  • Seizures (for example, epileptic seizures)
  • Chronic or persistent medical symptoms that either:
    • Substantially limit your ability to conduct major life activities
    • May cause serious harm to your safety, physical health or mental health

Becoming a Patient as a Minor:

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 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, their county health department may require additional documentation. Contact your county's program for more information on additional required documentation.

Benefits of Being a Patient:

As a registered patient in California, you will have an affirmative defense in court if you are arrested for the possession of cannabis. If you require an organ transplant, your patient status will prevent a hospital from refusing the transplant due to your status as a cannabis patient. If you are facing the loss of parental rights, your cannabis use as a medical patient will not be used against you in the legal process.

Becoming a Caregiver:

A primary caregiver must be at least 18 years old and should consistently assume responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of a patient. They can be the primary caregiver of more than one patient only if the patients live in the same city or county as the primary caregiver. IDs are not required in CA but are available at the CA Department of Public Health website.

Out-of-State Patients:

California does not recognize out of state patient registrations. For more information about traveling as a medical cannabis patient, check out our Travel Guide.

Home Cultivation:

Any individual over the age of 21 is technically allowed to grow up to six plants according to California law. The grow site must be out of visibility from the public. Individual jurisdictions across California are allowed to ban outdoor cultivation, but not indoor cultivation. Be sure to check your local rules before setting up an outdoor grow.

Cannabis Expungement:

In 2016, Prop 64 allowed individuals in California who had completed a sentence for a cannabis-related offense to have convictions “dismissed, sealed, resentenced, and/or redesignated from a felony misdemeanor” by petition. The petition application form is available online as a PDF. In 2018, Assembly Bill (AB) 1793 pushed the expungement process, requiring the courts to identify eligible cases by July 1, 2019.


Medical cannabis patients can find additional resources here.

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