Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in many US states, a patient was required to physically visit a doctor before using telemedicine for medical cannabis consultations. Today, in most states, patients no longer require a first in-person examination to use telemedicine. Indeed, the pandemic prompted a shift in the standards for how doctors may treat patients, easing access for those in need across the country. This change enabled doctors to develop advanced telehealth programs and assist patients while keeping a social distance.
Cannabis certification is one such service offered by telemedicine physicians in states where medical marijuana is legal. Thanks to telehealth technologies, it’s now possible to get the full medical cannabis certification procedure completed online. Despite the improvement in the epidemiological situation and the gradual return to normality, many legal marijuana states continue to support telemedicine. Ohio is one such example. On March 23, 2022, Ohio House Bill 122 will come into force, allowing Ohio’s medical marijuana doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients through an examination in person or via telehealth services. The only catch is that Ohio licensed physicians may only issue medical marijuana recommendations and provide telemedicine services from inside the state of Ohio to Ohio residents. Anyway, the adoption of Bill 122 will positively affect the cannabis industry and further development of telemedicine services.
How to get a medical marijuana card through telehealth
Each state is different, however, the procedure of applying for a medical card is typically as follows:
- You should first register online via the chosen telemedicine app to schedule an appointment with a qualified physician.
- Then a telemedicine call will happen with the licensed doctor in your area.
- After being qualified for a medical card, you should activate it and pay a state fee.
- After you have gone through all the above-mentioned steps and obtained your MMJ card, you can freely shop at a dispensary.
Other requirements for obtaining your medical cannabis card online include:
- Equipment. A smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a functional microphone, camera, and speakers.
- Identification. A driver’s license or a state-issued ID card. Minor patients may also be required to provide a birth certificate.
- Evidence of residency. It’s not required in all states, however, some states’ medical marijuana programs (for example, in Florida) do require proof of residency. It can be a utility bill, voter registration, or mail from a state department (not more than 2 months old).
- Medical records. They can include progress notes, medication lists, health records, etc. In most states, this point is optional.
- Verification of the caregiver’s identity. Before being authorized to assist a patient, caregivers may be required to undergo a criminal background check, fill out an application, and provide evidence of identity.
Why get a medical marijuana card?
To legally acquire, possess, and consume cannabis in most US states, you will need a valid medical cannabis certificate and a medical marijuana identification card from the respective state. Even in states where recreational cannabis is legal, there are numerous benefits to obtaining a medical marijuana card:
- You can save money on sales taxes. In most areas where recreational cannabis is legal, medical marijuana users are exempt from paying sales taxes.
- Medical cannabis patients often have access to a broader range of cannabis products.
- Medical marijuana consumers are frequently eligible for dispensary discounts and specials, making it more affordable for those in need.
- There is medical marijuana card reciprocity meaning that if you have a medical marijuana card in one state, you may continue to use it when you travel to another state that has reciprocity (some of the states include Arizona, Ohio, Utah, and Oregon).
The Benefits of Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card Through Telehealth
Patients prescribed medical marijuana can benefit in a variety of ways when they opt to obtain their medical card through telemedicine, including the following:
- Patients in rural areas, the elderly, those with mobility impairments, and other people who find it difficult to visit a doctor in-person may now see a specialist without leaving their home. This helps save time, transportation costs, and avoid missing work hours.
- Telehealth technologies provide patients with more inexpensive options for obtaining their medical marijuana card online. For example, a startup MMJ Card 4 Less, an Ohio-based telemedicine provider, offers affordable pricing to help Ohio residents get a medical marijuana card as simply and quickly as possible. Just compare! Today, the cost of an in-person physician examination for a new card in Ohio will cost you between $175-$199 (and this is without a state fee). Moreover, many medical marijuana doctors require follow-up appointments at your expense and may charge booking fees. By using telemedicine, you will get more affordable and comfortable services.
- You can have an online consultation with a doctor whenever you feel the need.
- Telemedicine also makes routine check-ups easier to schedule.
- Telehealth technologies help clinics reduce overhead, thus allowing doctors to improve their services and treat more patients.
Many benefits are observed in telemedicine in general. For example, patients that require mental health services or those suffering from infectious diseases can easily meet with a doctor at a convenient time without the risk of infecting others. In some emergency situations, the ability of a doctor to provide online consultation may be life-saving. Furthermore, in recent years, there has been strong consumer demand for telemedicine services that must be met.
For sure, telehealth is here to stay, and it offers multiple benefits, including time and cost savings. However, technology still has a long way to go before it can replace medical practices that need an in-person physical assessment. As for the cannabis industry, it seems that telemedicine and medical marijuana certification were made for each other. Together, they represent the simplest way to obtain a certificate and a medical cannabis card in states where it is permitted.