MMIC Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program (MMICP)?
    The Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program is a program of the State of California that was established following the passage of SB 420 that requires counties to administer a voluntary card registration program that identifies medical marijuana patients.
  • Why should I apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC)?
    Any person in possession of a valid MMIC shall NOT be subject to arrest for possession, transportation, deliver, or cultivation of medical marijuana in the amount allowed by SB 420 (unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the MMIC is false or falsified, the card was obtained by fraud, or the person is otherwise in violation of SB 420).
  • How long will it take to get my MMIC?
    Processing time can take up to 35 days to receive your MMIC once the application is accepted. If any information or documents are missing, this may delay processing your application. If this is the case, County of San Diego Public Health Services will contact you within 30 days from the day you submit your application.
  • What serious medical condition(s) do I need to have to qualify for a MMIC?
    A serious medical condition, as defined by SB 420, is any of the following: AIDS; anorexia; arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; glaucoma; migraine; persistent muscle spasms; seizures; severe nausea; and 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.
  • What information/documentation is required for a MMIC?
    The qualified patient will need to provide: A completed MMIC application. Government-issued photo identification. Proof of residency within the San Diego County. Written documentation completed by your physician that states that you have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate. (This documentation will be returned to the applicant during your appointment). The application fee for each MMIC requested. Your photo will be taken at the time of application. The primary caregiver, if any, will need to provide: A competed MMIC application. Government-issued photo identification. Proof of residency in the state of California. A written statement documenting how the primary caregiver consistently assumes responsibility for the housing, health or safety of the patient. The application fee for each MMIC requested. Your photo will be taken at the time of application. If an applicant applies for an MMIC for a primary caregiver, both the primary caregiver and the qualified patient must be present at the time of submission of the primary caregiver’s application.
  • Can I have more than one primary caregiver?
    Yes, but only if your primary caregiver is the owner or operator of a facility providing medical care and/or supportive services to a qualified patient, he/she can designate no more than three employees as caregivers.
  • Can a minor apply for a card?
    Yes, a minor can apply as a patient or caregiver. If a minor is applying as a qualified patient, they must be lawfully emancipated or of declared self-sufficiency status. (See Declaration of Emancipation) If neither, the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or person with legal authority to make medical decisions for the minor applicant must complete Section 2 of the Medical Marijuana Identification Card Application. If a minor is applying as a primary caregiver, they must meet additional requirements including: Being consistently responsible for the housing, health or safety of a qualified patient, or Being the parent of a minor child who is a qualified patient.
  • What medical documentation is required for a MMIC?
    You must provide written documentation completed by your physician that states that you have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition and that the medical use of marijuana is appropriate. (This documentation will be returned to the applicant during your appointment.) The California Department of Health Services offers the use of the Written Documentation of Patient’s Medical Records Form (CDPH 9044 Form) as a convenience. Your physician will be contacted to confirm that the medical documentation submitted by the applicant is a true and correct copy of documentation in your medical record in the physician’s office. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that an Authorized Release of Medical Information is on file with their medical provider.
  • What happens to my application and other private health information after I give it to my county’s MMIC Program?
    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 Medical Marijuana Program. (The Appeals Form has a declaration and signature block regarding this release.)
  • Do I have to be a San Diego County resident in order to receive a MMIC?
    No, any California resident that is a qualified patient can apply for an MMIC; however, you must apply for your MMIC in the county where you reside. Proof of residency is required.
  • Is my MMIC recognized out of county?
    Yes, this is a statewide identification program.
  • Can I obtain my recommendation from an out-of-county physician?
    Yes, the attending physician must have a license in good standing issued by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, but there are no residency requirements for the physician.
  • Is a Medical Marijuana recommendation considered a prescription?
    No, a prescription must be federally approved. As marijuana is not recognized as legal by the federal government, federal law criminalizes the use of medical marijuana.
  • How much processed marijuana can I have in my possession?
    SB 420 allows eight (8) ounces of dried mature processed flowers of the female cannabis plant AND no more than six (6) mature or twelve (12) immature plants per qualified patient. Counties and cities are authorized to establish higher (but no lower) limits if they wish. Please contact the District Attorney’s office or your local law enforcement agency for current information.
  • Does a MMIC protect me from all law enforcement?
    No.
  • Does the card allow me to consume medical marijuana at any time and/or any place?
    No. According to Health and Safety Code 11362.79 Nothing in this article shall authorize a qualified patient or person with an identification card to engage in the smoking of medical marijuana under any of the following circumstances:(a) In any place where smoking is prohibited by law.(b) In or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school, recreation center, or youth center, unless the medical use occurs within a residence.(c) On a school bus.(d) While in a motor vehicle that is being operated.(e) While operating a boat.
  • Does carrying a valid Medical Marijuana card protect me from prosecution for possession of marijuana?
    No, possession and distribution of marijuana is a Federal offense and individuals in California in possession of marijuana for medical purposes have been prosecuted. In addition, individuals in possession of marijuana in quantities larger than determined by local law for personal medical use have been arrested and prosecuted.
  • What MMIC cardholder personal information will be available to law enforcement?
    When the MMIC unique identification number is entered through the MMIC website, a “Valid Card” or “Invalid Card” response is generated. No other information is accessible.
  • What information will appear on the card?
    Photo of the cardholder. Designation of “Patient” or “Primary Caregiver”. A unique user identification number issued by the California Department of Public Health. Expiration date. Name and telephone number of the county agency that approved the card. A 24-hour, toll-free telephone number and Web-based internet URL that will enable state and local law enforcement officers, public and others to have immediate access to verify the validity of the card.
  • How long will a MMIC be valid?
    Qualified patient and primary caregiver cards are valid for one year from date of issue. If the primary caregiver applies for a card at a later date than the patient’s MMIC application, the primary caregiver's MMIC will have the same expiration date as the patient’s MMIC.
  • Is there a fee for applying for a MMIC?
    Yes, the current fee is $166, for each MMIC issued for the patient and their caregiver(s). Proof of eligibility for participation in the Medi-Cal program, presented at the time of application, qualifies a Medi-Cal beneficiary to receive a 50% reduction in fees. If the applicant qualifies for this fee reduction and is designating a primary caregiver, the fee for the primary caregiver’s MMIC will also be reduced 50%.
  • Can I get my application fee refunded if I do not qualify?
    No, application fees are non-refundable.
  • Where do I go to get an application?
    Applications can be obtained on-line here or by calling (619) 692-5723 to have an application mailed, or at our office:
  • Health and Human Services Agency Vital Records
    3851 Rosecrans St. Ste 802 San Diego, CA 92110